Personal AND universal

I have always been a passionate man. God has put a hunger in me for truth, and the last 10-15 years have been a long search for something that was real truth! I always had the notion that in order for something to be real, genuine, 100% truth it had to live up to two criteria: it had to be personal, something that we can experience and know, and it had to be universal in the sense that it couldn’t be something that was reserved for a limited number of people, it had to be equally available to everybody!

I have found out that very few things live up to those two criteria. I remember many conversations with one of my best friends, Carsten Almann Levisen, who would always end up being the bubble burster when I had thought of something I was very passionate about, and that I thought that all people in the world needed to hear about. He would often ask me questions about whether whatever it was I was so passionate about would be available and relevant for a 40 year old mother with three children in Indonesia, or a man with no education from Swaziland or a young child from an abusive background from Holland…..? Those are just examples of the people he would ask about, and every time I had to admit that he was probably right that either it took a certain level of education or some kind of special interest for it to be both available and relevant for these people. 

It was a frustrating thing that he was bursting my bubbles, but I needed that to continue my search for real truth. And here many years after those first conversations in the late 90’s I have found the real deal! Since God took me on the journey of brokenness and lead me into the valley of the shadow of death more than three years ago, I have come to see, experience and embrace truths about who God is and who we as believers are in him that are truly both personal and universal!

I saw these truths in full bloom in Nigeria recently. We were people from three different continents (Africa, North America and Europe). We were people with very different backgrounds (some from rich, well-developed nations and some from tribal societies where their dads had five wives and worshiped idols). We had both men and women represented in our group. We had people between the ages of 20 and 72. We had people who had received hardly any education at all and who could barely read, and we had people in the group with doctorates and long fancy-sounding educations. We were, in short, an incredibly diverse group. And God’s truth, who is Jesus who call himself the truth (John 14:6), was the one who broke through all barriers and revealed himself and who we are in him to all of us despite our differences.

It was amazing to see that the truths of God’s Word are both personal – he spoke to us in many different ways and revealed different aspects of the truth – and universal – our differences didn’t matter, we were all united in having a true hunger for the truth that will set us free! Everybody in the world is longing for true freedom. Everybody is searching to have our needs for love, acceptance, worth and security met. All almost 7 billion inhabitants of Planet Earth are looking to have those needs met. And they can only be met in encountering the God of the Universe, revealed in his son Jesus Christ who is all truth! Not just some of the truth. But all truth. All truth is God’s truth. Every time anybody encounters real truth, it’s God’s truth. Even if these people belong to a different religion or claim that there is no God at all. Every encounter with truth that sets us free to live lives of freedom, peace, joy, love and acceptance, worth and significance without any hangovers or hidden price tags, is an encounter with God!

I am so happy that I have the privilege of being able to work full time ministering about these truths about God and us that are truly personal, universal, transformational and life changing! The changes that we experience when we truly encounter God are not these changes that wear off within a few weeks or months. When we truly encounter God we are changed forever, and we are forever ruined for the ordinary!

I thank my friend, Carsten, for being the tool that God used to always push me towards finding the real, universal truth, and I’m so happy that God revealed the real deal to me. And I count it a joy and a privilege to be able to devote my life to sharing about the truth who is Jesus Christ!

(Edit: I am blessed to be married to a wonderful woman who loves to help me see my blind spots, and as I was sharing about this blog entry, she asked me to consider if it didn’t sound a bit too much as if I have arrived and I don’t have anything more to learn. Great question, and I certainly want to clarify what I think about that. I do believe that I found the pearl and have bought the field where the pearl is in, but I’m certainly not thinking or believing that I have discovered everything there is to discover about this field. The kingdom of God is vast and has no end just like God’s love has no end. And I am looking forward to a long life and the rest of eternity to explore the riches that Christ has purchased for me and given to me. So yes, I am parked at the truths of who God really is, and who I am in him, but I am still longing to see and experience more truth. That longing for more truth has been with me for of my life, and I’m convinced that I’ll always be hungry for more truth! So I am by no means “done” or “arrived” in the sense of thinking that I know everything there is to know about the wonders of God and his love 🙂 It feels like I have only just scratched the surface a little bit, and I’m excited that there is so much more to have revealed to me)

Blessings, Torben

I do stand amazed:

2 Responses to “Personal AND universal”

  1. June 19, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    great insight into your heart!!! thank you (and of course many others!) for paving the way for us to go to Africa!
    you are a sower…in all fields!
    we bless ya…

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