We can walk right by truth or a perception of reality and not perceive its existence. Only when it is revealed to us does it become a personal discovery.
In 1853, a mule owned by a gold prospector named John. W. Hillman led him to the rim of Crater Lake in southern Oregon. This was the first recorded sighting of the lake by someone of European ancestry. Crater Lake was known to exist by first nations people for centuries before it was “discovered” by white prospectors and explorers.
For the next 15 years after Hillman first stood on the rim of the lake, it would be “discovered” by others, each one giving it a new name. We like to name our discoveries as something original attaching a personal label, yet in spiritual matters, we forget there is nothing new under the sun. Like John W. Hillman we see some things for the first time as a representative of our particular group or generation and declare our discovery as something original.
There is a great deal we have not discovered about God and His Kingdom – things our particular circle of fellowship or personal experience has not yet encountered. Some of these discoveries will have unfamiliar labels attached to the experience by those who visited the experience long before we arrived.
Jan and I have stood on the rim of Crater Lake many times in the last 20 years. On every visit, we are impacted by the beauty of the deep blue color of the lake’s water. When we visit we notice tourists speaking the native tongue of their homeland, each one experiencing the beauty of the lake as a unique first-time discovery.
This is how it is with God and His Kingdom. We will each see the same thing through a different lens of interpretation. Giving each other permission to interact with that unique discovery and personally name the experience is one thing that makes the diversity of God’s Kingdom such a powerful reality. None of the labels or names we attach to a Spirit-empowered experience will rob anyone else of the beauty of their discovery. Enjoy the view.