Permission to be blunt? I believe that there is power unseen. I believe that God visits us in ways that cannot be touched or explained. I believe that He comes boldly and loudly to anyone who is willing to listen. I believe that He offers encouragement, comfort, joy, peace, and strength by the supernatural presence of His Holy Spirit. I believe it… because I lived in it. Swam in it and clung to dear life to it over this past year. On the day of Gideon’s birth God’s presence was as tangible as I’ve ever seen on this earth and I can rest well at night because I now know that such power exists.
To give it a name, I believe this powerful presence is called the Holy Spirit. I grew up in a church where we always threw around “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,” and even this very Sunday we talked about the three, the Trinity, the amazing ability God has to be our Father, our Savior, and our Counselor all at once. It might just be me, but I feel like we most of the time emphasize God talk and Jesus’s role but not too often to we give heed to the Holy Spirit. Maybe people think its weird? Maybe its hard to tangibly grasp its meaning and purpose and so we skip over it? Maybe, if you are like my husband, you think the Holy Spirit has been overused in some settings and so at first glance don’t trust what people say about it. All of these completely understandable and reasonable…but …then…you go through something. You die on the inside, your whole world around you crashes down and yet somehow you know God is there. You can feel Him and hear Him and there, to me, is the undeniable important and life giving role of the Holy Spirit.
I mention all this today because I’ve been sad the past few weeks thinking that some people might never get to experience this power in their lifetime. Some people because they simply don’t believe in its existence. Maybe others because they simply didn’t know what to look for. Others maybe because they have been scared or timid of what is unseen. And so, at least for today, my prayer is just to give honor to the part of the trinity that took me through deep sorrow and pain. The part of God’s character that is an everyday source of power, one whose mere existence helps me rest my head in peace every night.
The Holy Spirit is…
My live and breathe and die verse that I have clung to through these past trials and pains was John 14:27, one of these days I will be tattooing it on my forehead, but for now “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” But this verse is a part of a paragraph. Its Jesus talking to his disciples right before he was about to die and verse 25 and 26 say this, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
our overwhelming joy
Every so often joy fills me up in a way that doesn’t make sense. I credit this joy to the Holy Spirit, Jesus tells a similar story “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” Luke 10:21. I love that Jesus’s joy is about how God chose to give gifts to people the world would deem small. I love that even Jesus finds a million things to praise God for and so I seek for that joy. Because even in the midst of tragedy, only through the power of the Holy Spirit, there is room for joy.
If we listen long enough to learn, He will even guide and provide words when we need them most ““When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” Luke 12:11
our tangible hope “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
our power “you will receive power when the Holy Spiritcomes on you” Acts 1:8
our confidence “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Acts 4:31
our message of God’s love “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:5-6
our guarantee of what’s to come “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14
I think I could go on for forever and forever.
You want to know what is even better? The Holy Spirit is not just for weirdy, touchy feely, emotional people like me. My husband and I very much compliment each other. He is logical, I am emotional. He takes 15 years to make a decision, I take 15 seconds. He doesn’t believe it ’til he sees it, I am overly gullible. And the same differences go for how we live in our faith. In fact, when it comes to the Holy Spirit he and I will debate for hours on its place and purpose in our lives. However, together we stand confident and in one voice shouting to the mountain tops say…if it weren’t for the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit we would not have survived this past year.
So maybe, just maybe. If you never have before, or maybe you just have’t lately…would you give a listen?
Ask God to show up. Ask Him and then listen. Watch what happens. Hear what He says. It might be a day, it might be a week, or a month…but He WILL show up. When I was young in my faith I would ask God to show up in the most trivial ways. I mean like I lost an earring will you help me find it can I see a rainbow today if you are hearing me ways. But God knew where my heart was and He knew what I needed to hear and so He always came through. He knew I needed all those little listens so when it came for the big time I cannot get out of bed because my tears won’t stop flowing I need you here now God are listening times came…I knew without a doubt He would be there and that I would hear His voice of hope when my bleeding heart heard nothing but sorrow.
Today I heard the dreaded words spoken to me, the one sentence that can cut right through the heart, the one phrase you never ever want to hear, “and you call yourself a Christian? You are very disappointing.” My heart sank. Butterflies multiplied in my belly by the thousands. My eyes welled up and I wanted to curl up in a ball and die. Before I could crawl away I paused, and I listened. See even in the midst of misunderstood words and misplaced promises, I somehow found confidence. As I listened I heard God whispering gently to me, “Maria, it doesn’t matter what they say. It matters what I say. My peace I give you, don’t let anyone else take it away.” Deep breath and keep moving. Scratched but not beaten.
I pray that for you too. I pray that for my church. I pray that schedules, routines, song sets, and preconceived notions stop getting in the way of just asking…then listening.