God winks are when we our lives are touched by God and a blessing is felt. Daily I feel that God winks in my life and except for sharing with my husband and occasionally on Facebook I usually don't share my winks with everyone. Some days I feel like Mary who "pondered all in her heart" at the birth of Christ, for the blessings bring great meaning and joy. Some days I feel like the Christian world may not be ready for my blessing as it calls into question some of the norms and I just don't feel like fighting with people about God and other days I just don't share because it reveals more about my personal life than people want to know (as a Pastor one must remain in a certain view by the public, which can and does change based on who is viewing and although you might feel like you may never, you should still try to remain this way).
Either way, I think I should stop living in such a way. As God continually shows me that we learn through testimony and example. That people come to faith through testimony - look at the Bible! And so I will begin sharing my winks with you, when God has truly touched my life and reminded me that no matter where I am at on a giving day, God is with me.
As a chaplain I experience God throughout the day. I feel God's presence as I pray with people and as I hold Holy conversation. I know God is working throughout people's lives and I am often brought to someone because of God's push or pull instead of my own desires. One day I visited a man who had left the church several decades ago. Mostly in anger over politics, a story that I hear daily. As this man wonder the world - literary he traveled for a living - he experienced great things and many religions. He was left with a feeling of doubt and yet belief. He knew there to be a God, he had experienced that in war; yet he didn't know he could believe in the God of the church. So he was left to sitting in a state of "unbelief" and yet "belief." We had a very deep conversation about the God he had experienced in his life and perhaps that being the answer in itself. He joked that if he got to heaven, which he wasn't sure there was one or that he was good enough for, he would let me know. I joked that if I got there first, I would let him know. (we both knew he was going first). The night he died, I had a dream of him. I usually don't remember my dreams. As I usually don't get much sleep, I often don't dream and yet I woke up with a profound feeling of that dream. I shared with my husband that morning I had a dream I needed to share. I didn't know the man had died until later, except when I heard it, my dream made sense.
In my dream, my church (which is very welcoming) was having a potluck and the elevator door opened and this man, who had never stepped foot in the church before, was there and was greeted with a warm welcome. Wheeled the front and offered a meal. I know that his entrance into the Kingdom was one in which God warmly welcomed a searching believer who finally found his home.
You see, it takes more then just going to church to be a truly righteous believer. It takes looking at the church and struggling when you see it do wrong. It also takes realizing the good and uplifting it. This man didn't struggle with God, he struggled with the church and with the teachings. He struggled with his own worthiness because he did't fit into the box that the church likes us to check. He struggled with God most of his adult life not because he didn't believe but because he cared enough to believe the God he had experienced which was different from the God found in some churches.
Jesus reminds us that we must "cut off" our limbs that are sinning; 43If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. (Mark 9:43).
In this case, this man felt his church was causing him to sin as he did not feel he could uphold all its teachings. And yet, he never felt he could "find" another church. He felt disconnected from church and considered himself disconnected from God. What a way to live your life.
Don't make this mistake! There are churches out there that are teaching things you would like! But more importantly, there are Christians out there you can join in fellowship. Where 3 or more are gathered in Jesus' name, God is there! Let us go out then and be the church. Let us welcome all and most importantly let us testify to the God winks in our life. For if this man had heard from others their love for not just their church but also God, he may have found a church home instead of living his life searching until his death. Although he was welcomed home, let us strive to live a life in which we feel and know the Kingdom in the here and now.
Let us spread our God winks!