A Close Encounter Of The Third Kind!

hot pepper

TheDiscipleMD

(A close encounter of the third kind is generally accepted as actually seeing an alien up close or having contact)

I landed in Portland, Oregon in 1978 for the first time, so that I could meet the family of my bride to be! They turned out to be a wonderful family and I immediately felt welcomed and loved. I stayed a week and during the entire visit I tried very hard to be on my “best” behavior. I didn’t want anything to ruin the good thing I had going.  One night during my visit, the family, which consisted of her parents, fourteen year old brother, and married sister and her husband, ate at a local Mexican restaurant.  As we waited for our meal, my fiance’s father asked if I had ever eaten a “Jalapeno” hot pepper. I didn’t even know what a Jalapeno pepper was. He laughed and asked the waiter if he would bring some hot peppers to the table. In hindsight, knowing the great sense of humor that my father-in-law has shown over the years, I would have known that he loves a good laugh. And this laugh came at my expense. The waiter brought a couple of large peppers to the table and my future father-in-law asked if I had ever eaten one. I told him “No”. He held it out and said, “It is so good. Here eat one!” Now, I can still recall thinking that I had no interest in eating that pepper but, what to do….what to do…when you want to impress your future in-laws? Afterwards I knew why Eve had eaten the apple. Put a little pressure and sometimes….well… sometimes we fall! So as I looked at the outstretched hand, the forbidden pepper seemed to call my name. So, I took it and bit the mouth sized pepper off at the stem.

Never had I felt such a burning sensation in my mouth and throat and I quickly looked for relief in my glass of water. I drank one glass, then another, still another and still more. The burning persisted! How, I thought, could a pepper continue to be so hot when I had doused it with a gallon of water. By the time I was done drinking my stomach was so full of water that I scarcely ate my meal. My future father-in-law had a field day and belly laughed the whole night. It’s been some thirty-five years later and still, when we visit, it is brought up. What I have since learned, regarding hot peppers, is that drinking water doesn’t work to cool off your mouth. It is eating something else that has the power to relieve the burning pain. But, I didn’t know that back then. So I took the “logical” course by drinking water. Today, after my  close encounter of the third kind with a Jalapeno, I know that when I eat a hot pepper, drinking isn’t the solution. It’s eating something else.

I have heard from many people over the course of my life, that belief in a supreme being is illogical. That it doesn’t make sense. That man is not of noble birth. Indeed, there are many who say we evolved from the maggots of the earth. They cite scientific theories, mathematical formulas, and archeological studies. Well, I don’t know about all of those things. Perhaps there is some truth “buried” beneath it all. But all I can go by is personal experience. And experience sometimes trumps logic. And my experience tells me that there is a God, who has a plan. It has been my experience that God cares about you and me, because He loves us. It has been my experience that sometimes our heart can tell us the truth, when our mind says it cannot be. It was logical to drink water that night at the Mexican restaurant,  but it wasn’t the right answer.

My testimony is that we do have a loving Father and that He has an eternal plan for our lives. I can’t logically explain everything about this world, why things happen, and the reason for it all. I don’t know anyone who can. But I have felt the stirrings in my soul that the doctrine as taught in the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. They resonate in my heart and speak to my soul. From time to time I think of my night at the Mexican restaurant and laugh. But I still remember a lesson, well learned, that logic doesn’t always dictate truth. I have not had a close encounter of the third kind with God to date, as I did that night with a Jalapeno. But I don’t need it to convince me that God exists and that I am His son because my heart burns within that he is real.  And that is all the encounter I need!

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