Recently, I heard a most magnificent story of transformation. A colleague of mine and I were talking about spiritual experiences that have impacted us. And having shared mine, he disclosed one of his, which I thought was breathtaking. With his permission I share it with you.
A few years ago he had been suffering from a deep depression, but had not recognized it clearly, despite the fact that he was a therapist. His wife, he related, would come home to him in the evening and find him weeping. And he did not know where the grief came from. One evening he told his wife that he needed some time away to work through this experience. Lovingly, she told him to do whatever he believed he needed to do.
My friend took his sleeping bag and a canister of water, intending to go on a fast in the forest. Stopping alongside the road, he saw Black Mountain (Apt, is it not?) and decided to climb to the top. When he arrived he continued to feel very troubled by the black thoughts that coursed through his mind. He said there was a struggle going on in his mind, which continued throughout the night.
The following morning he came upon a precipice, which looked as if it were over 200 feet deep (How symbolic.). He stood on the edge of that abyss, his toes touching the rim, for over two and a half hours. And he struggled with the thoughts in his mind. He prayed fervently, vented his anger and even cursed. At times he felt impelled to jump, and he believes today that he was immersed in a spiritual battle in which Satan wanted him to die both physically and spiritually.
He begged God for a sign of deliverance when all of a sudden a white butterfly rose up from the depth and hovered for a time in front of him. He was transfixed by this lovely creature which seemed to commune with him and then flit over his shoulder and up the course of the mountain. He had gotten his sign from God and was filled with relief and joy. He sang for the rest of the day and was filled with God’s presence. The experience had engendered a personal transformation within him, and it continues to fill his life.
He shared the event with a couple of others who said that perhaps the butterfly had just been a coincidence. And as he talked he seemed to question the significance of the experience, but I told him to hold fast. I told him that had he been a Native on a Vision Quest, he would have never entertained doubt. Had he been an atheist he may have accepted it as a synchronistic experience. Why, being a Christian, should he doubt the presence of God?