Friday, December 03, 2004
Holy Spirit Working
"And it's a Him," I say, looking intently at Carl. He'd just finished
reading aloud A. W. Tozer's statement about the Holy Spirit being hidden, a
secret from the modern church. The Holy Spirit has demonstrated His
personality so many times in my life that I can't keep quiet.
This isn't like me. At most spiritual meetings I keep quiet. It's that
"real Christian" problem again. I can't stand up to the real ones. My
experience is divergent and I don't want to invite criticism that will just
add to what I do to myself.Right now, however, I don't care what anyone
says; I'm firmly convinced that unless we learn who the Holy Spirit is we
might as well just hang our harps on the dead trees and quit trying to
The Holy Spirit is the reason my heart still beats. He's the one who holds
me when the world seems to be made of rolling rocks and quicksand. It is He
who guides my feet when all paths run between chasms and are paved with
ball bearings. His is the water that brings growth to my desert.
It is not my intent to challenge Carl. He is, after all, much more active
in the church and its men's ministry than I ever have been. Normally I'd
leave things alone. Instead, I'm like a second-grader who, for once, knows
the answer to every question the teacher asks.
I sit there, listening to the ongoing discussion, and wonder why. Why did
God pour so much of Himself into me?
"We have television and Nintendo," Carl says.
"Ever since we started this series," Nate says, "I've become more aware of
"Why is it the little things?" Darlynn says. "I hate the feeling of
disobeying the spirit. I was working in the kitchen and the Spirit said I
should call someone. I didn't. Just wanted to get on with what I was
"I may be crazy," Cassie says, "but I use my theatre training. We're
supposed to imagine and focus on the fourth wall so that we won't make eye
contact with the audience. So, I focus on a point, oh, about here." She
waves her hands above and to the right of her face."
"God uses what we know," I add. "My model is sand sculpture. Water is what
holds it together; remove the water and you just have a pile of sand. The
Holy Spirit is the water that holds my sand together."
Carl says "I've been a Christian all of my life, but really practicing for
only the last couple of years. A lot of wasted time."
"Twenty-five years, in my case," I interject.
He goes on. "Lordship. Only when we really make Him Lord."
I look at Darlynn. "Yes, and it's not as if He's asking us to make 50 phone
calls in one day. He just asked you for one. His burden is light."
"Yes," she says.
Yes, I should have worn shoes. I'm rolling home, down past the airport and
my toes are complaining about the temperature. Endless summer, indeed. The
sandaled southern California fantasy. There is no winter.
Suddenly an idea rips through the night and smacks me one between the eyes.
What I have to say is worth hearing. Grow a backbone, boy, and speak up.
The Holy Spirit is a permanent sunrise against terminal winter.
Jesus split the veil. It was a violent act that changed human history. We
all know that, but what comes after the acknowledgement? Satan would love
for us to get caught in rules, and we're all to susceptible to that. Law is
what we know. Freedom is for birds and fantasy books. If we lose some
chains, there are plenty more to take their place. Chains are what we know.
There's no point in standing still in the Temple, looking at the torn
curtain. That one act was history's most marvellous single event, but it's
just the start! Standing still is like walking through the glaciers to the
gate of Shangri-La and then stopping. No, we have to keep walking. Take the
step, enter the new land and discover what it is.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your words are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when you made me in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16 NIV)
Several months ago I was winding up the day's affairs with my usual loose
approach to a quiet time. Sometimes a surprise will slip out of my calming
mind, and this time it was a thought addressed to "dear Holy Spirit." Dear?
Me? That's not my style.
What is "dear?" Beside the standard opening of a letter, and a greeting at
the airport. We talk of expensive items being dear. I shelved the whole
idea for a time.
Then it came back. Dear. As in being important. As in being very dear, as
in not wanting to be without. That's plain truth. Dear Holy Spirit. Very
dear. Irreplaceable Keeper of Promises, Knitter-Together of Fragile Life.
There's nothing like need to force frightened feet through the gateway into
a new land.
2004 December 3 (Emailed to Blog and WEML)