There is a part in the story where Mattie takes in a young scalawag named Wesley, who has escaped from a detention center. On Saturday night, she asks Wesley if he has ever been to church. He says no; he has been by one, and has seen one on TV, but he has never been to one.
I want you to hear Edgerton's description of what went on in Mattie's mind at this point. It is descriptive of the kind of solid life that comes from knowing with the heart:
Mattie saw before her a dry, dying plant which needed water up through the roots -- a pale boy with rotten teeth who needed the cool nourishing water of hymns sung to God, of kind people speaking to him, asking him how things were going, the cool water of clean people, clean children, of old people being held by the arm and helped up a flight of stairs, old people who looked with thanks up into the eyes of their helpers, of young and old people sitting together for one purpose: to worship their Maker, to worship Jesus, to do all that together and to care for each other and to read and sing and talk together about God and Jesus and the Bible. That would bring color to his cheeks, a robustness to his bearing. That would do it. He seemed smart enough. And, since he hadn't been to church, then he was lost; this could be his first stop on the road to salvation (Ballantine, 1987, pp. 130-131).
Do you see what I mean?
Feeling certain about the world. Being comfortable with the created order.
Mattie knew. She wasn't a Ph.D. and there were lots of things she didn't know, but she knew about life.
The way you know when you are still.
"Be still and know that I am God."
Knowing God is the most valuable knowledge in the world. More valuable than knowing the formula for an H bomb. More valuable than knowing how to conjugate a French verb. More valuable than knowing how to make a souffle'. More valuable than anything.
Knowing God sets everything else in the world in order. It pyramids things. It prioritizes life. It says this is most important and other things are not.
People who don't know God don't realize this. And they are in the majority of the populace. "Wide, wide is the way that leads to destruction," says the Bible, "and narrow is the way that leads to life." Most people are in the wide way, not the narrow way. They don't know what they're missing.
Knowing God is the most wonderful experience a human being can have. It transforms everything!
I don't usually share personal things like this, but this time I want to. It is something from my journal. It happened last October. I was going through some heavy things in my thinking, mostly about where I should be serving God.
I had awakened early, with half an hour to spare over my regular schedule, and decided to use the time to pray. I went into the living room, where I often go early in the morning, and knelt down at a large comfortable footstool. I laid my feelings and concerns before God and waited.
I will not go through the conversation we had, as it would take too long to explain all of it. But when the conversation was over, I simply waited, caught up in meditation. I had a sense of being in the cleft of a rock, like Moses in the biblical description, while God's glory passed by.