Whether In My Body or Out, I Did Not Know
This story is an excerpt from the book Adventures in The Glory, by Tom & Pat Calkins. It is being re-published with their permission. The book is a collection of stories about the supernatural experiences they’ve had with God.
At one of these conferences I had a very unusual experience. It was in the evening service of the first day of a three day conference. Since our new transformation, Pat and I enjoy helping in any capacity that we can. We cannot help musically. We know our limitations, and that is definitely one of them. However, we are pretty good with the busy work. Pat and I assist with set up before the meetings begin and then greet people at the doors as they arrive. Then as the meeting proceeds, we assist with ushering and ministry needs, and after the meeting we help with clean up and eventually lock up and secure the building after everyone has left.
To be honest, being so busy with duties during a meeting tends to distract from the spiritual side of the meeting. But we learned early in our Christian lives that you can not out-give God. He will always more than repay our giving. Which brings us back to the meeting … The service was nearly finished and we were heading into a time of closing worship and personal ministry time. I noticed that Pat had already gone forward, as had dozens of others, and I could tell there was a heavy Presence of the Lord settling on the altar area of the church. I decided to leave my post at the back of the church and go forward. As I entered the area I joined with the crowd and stood next to Pat, lifting my hands in praise to the Lord.
I had barely begun to worship when I felt a strange sensation on my arms. I was wearing a short sleeved shirt and I could feel an intense heat on my forearms. It was as if someone had turned on a heater right in front of me. I turned and asked Pat, “Can you feel that?” Then I turned back to worshiping without waiting for her response. At that very moment, I began to experience the most unusual thing that has ever happened to me….
Pat’s Side of the Story
There was a large group of us who had gone forward for a little post-service worship following the end of the regular service. Tom came up and stood right beside me. The music was playing softly and there was a very sweet Presence of the Lord there. I was standing on one side of Tom and our friend Diane Rieger was on the other, to his right. The worship leader was singing “come up here.”
One hour had passed.
At this point, I had the presence of mind to grab my camera and start taking pictures.
By now, a curious few had started to gather around Tom who remained motionless. He looked like manikin in a store, frozen in place, just standing there with his hands positioned in praise. I had been careful not to do anything that would distract him, such as talk to him or touch him, because I did not want to interfere with anything that the Lord was doing. But it was becoming more and more obvious that something very strange was taking place. As time passed, more and more people were gathering around.
We were all having a great time laughing and speculating about what was happening. The whole while Tom just stood there motionless. Two hours passed. Then two and a half, then three. By then, just a few people remained in the building. The question was now changing from, “What is going on with Tom,” to, “What do we do with him?”
No, that was not an option. Everyone else could if they wanted to, but not me. And not Mary either. She was in this thing for the long haul, if that is what it took. We had been calling Jason (Phillips) every few minutes to keep him posted. He had left just before all this began in order to get the visiting guest speakers to his house so they could get a good night’s rest for tomorrow.Finally, the topic of transporting Tom came up. I don’t remember whose idea it was, but I liked it better than leaving him standing. We would take him to Jason’s house, since he and the other guys there could help carry him in. However, our car, a VW Bug, was completely inadequate for carrying a “six-foot board”. So, the decision was made to put him in the back of Mary’s roomy Honda Pilot. I would follow in our Bug.
Honestly, it didn’t look good. He looked … well, you can guess. And for the first time, I was beginning to worry. No one who was there had ever witnessed anything like this before. Even still, everyone seemed quite confident that he was A-OK. One friend even said, “I wish it was me.” Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was going to be like this forever? My fears, for the time, I kept to myself.
She agreed and decided to just hope she had enough gas to get to Jason’s. Fortunately, she did and when we arrived Jason and the ministry team came out to the car. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing. There lay Tom, flat on his back with his hands in the air, arms bent at the elbow. Jason climbed into the back of the car to survey the situation.After checking it out, he turned and looked at Mary, the ministry team, and me, and declared, “I think it’s the Lord.” Which, to me, meant he was as clueless as the rest of us. I had hoped he would say something like, ‘Oh, nothing to worry about. I see this all the time. No big deal.”
Although his statement did little to alleviate my fears, the way he said it came across in such a humorous manner that we all laughed. Once the laughter subsided, it was time to try to get Tom into Jason’s house. As Jason and a couple of the other guys pulled on his feet, out he slid, still as stiff as a board. Jason took his feet and Mary took his right shoulder and one of the guest speakers took his left shoulder. They lifted him up and started the long trek across the yard toward the house.
And where was I during all this? Following behind with my camera, snapping pictures, vacillating between laughing at the spectacle, and fighting the nagging fear that something was terribly wrong with Tom. We were all quite grateful that it was dark outside because the scene surely would or could have caught the attention of a neighbor or two. The only light on the event was the occasional sudden, brief, flash of my camera.
Jason was the last one to leave the room, so before he could get away, I pulled him aside. Not knowing if Tom was able to hear everything that was going on, and having to assume that he possibly could, I whispered, “Jason, I’m starting to freak out here … “I didn’t want Tom to know how worried I was. Jason was very kind and reassuring, saying, “Everything is going to be fine.” But there was a hint of uneasiness to his voice. He took one last glance at Tom, and nodded his head as if trying to reassure himself before he left for his bedroom. He walked down the long hallway toward his bedroom, his slippers softly padding as he disappeared into the darkness.
Four hours had now passed. Jason reappeared with his laptop computer in hand. Apparently he hadn’t gone to sleep after all He had been searching the internet for some explanation for what was going on.
Five and a half hours passed … I suddenly had a thought. I hadn’t prayed over him in tongues. It hadn’t even occurred to me. So I began to very softly pray in tongues over him. The reason I prayed softly was not because I didn’t want to awaken the others in the house. They were far enough away that it would have been nearly impossible for them to hear me. No. It was because I was video taping it and I didn’t want anyone, ever, to be able to hear me praying “in tongues.”So what’s the big deal with that, you may wonder? Because, ever since I became a Spirit-Filled Christian, I had been very unsure of my own prayer language. I had heard so many people describe their experience of being filled with the Spirit as an overwhelming event, with a new language flowing out of their mouths like a mighty, rushing, gushing river, without effort or thought.
Now, for Tom’s amazing side of the story, read on….
Tom’s Side Of The Story
The love of God was all-consuming and complete. I knew that I could stay right there in that perfect love for all of eternity and never lack or want for anything more. As I played and reveled in that euphoric state, I now became aware that there was something off to my right side, just past my arm’s reach. As I looked more closely, I realized that it was a being. This being was much taller than me and I could only see the legs, waist and trunk of the body. The shoulders and head were not visible to me. As I watched I could tell that the being was playing in the particles just as I was. In fact, he was glowing, just as the particles were. When the gold colored particles became brighter and dimmer, so did he. He appeared to be with the wind, and yet, not the wind. I loved the feeling of having that being there with me.
I continued to be totally overwhelmed with the experience. I don’t know how long this went on because a sense of time had no bearing on anything. But there did come a point when things began to change.
I do, however, have a couple of regrets about my experience. The first is: that I could not photographically document what I saw from the spiritual side, like Pat was able to do from the natural side. I wish that somehow God had allowed me to take a camera along to capture pictures and video clips to share with others. The second is: the expression on my face. The whole time I was frozen in place, I had this sad looking frown on my face and since we have shared the pictures and videos with so many people and places, I have wished desperately that I had been smiling instead. I don’t know if the Lord will ever repeat anything like this for me again, but I do know that now, when I begin to feel the Lord’s overwhelming presence, I try to smile … just in casee.