I’m waiting for that feeling to come*
Having a relationship with the Holy Spirit is like drinking water. I have heard this said, and so here’s a train of thought experiment. As I write this I have no idea where it is going, but last night and this morning I have prayed that the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts. This passage came to me from John’s Gospel:
37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[a] 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
John 7:37–39 NIV
A relationship is a two way thing. In the Old Testament, both Moses and Hezekiah prayed to God to change his mind. Moses about God saying he would let all the Hebrews die in the desert and Hezekiah when Isaiah had prophesied he would die. In both cases, God changed his mind. A relationship has give and take on both sides.
Prayer is powerful, it can be a very intimate thing, cementing a close relationship with our loving Father God through the Holy Spirit in us or turning back God’s wrath. Arguing with God is a prayer. When we tell God, “I want to do this my way,” it is often answered by God saying,”OK, have it your way.” This is the judgement of God, have no doubt about it, when this happens you have been judged, so don’t blame God when it all goes pear-shaped. God has given us free will and God respects it.
God has poured out his Holy Spirit on the Church. Christian, you have the fullness of God living within you, but what you do with it is up to you. Imagine a glass of water on a table on a hot day. It will not quench your thirst unless you drink. Left in the cup it gets warm and ceases to taste good. Left alone long enough it goes stagnant. You have to drink it. It’s no use waiting for that warm fuzzy feeling you get at a great worship service, It’s great to have that feeling, but that’s not all there is to God’s Holy Spirit. The Spirit is given for the bad days, the days when you are depressed, the days when the last thing you want is for God to speak to you. The Spirit is for people like this, people who are thirsty.
The best feedback I get from blog posts are from the ones I struggle to write. It is no use waiting for the feeling to come, there comes a time when you have to step out and trust that God’s Spirit does guide us. When we have to step out and trust that God will be with us.
I am usually the most surprised person when I am aware that God uses me. It tends to happen in my dark times when I’m not feeling particularly holy. But as I read the Bible I find that it was when Hagar was at her lowest that God spoke to her: Hagar became the first person to give a name to God, El Shadai, the God who sees.
God has given us the Holy Spirit and he is there for our dark times, our dry times. The churches were empty this Easter, closed to prevent passing on a coronavirus during a pandemic and it looks likely they will still be closed at Pentecost, May 31st. Even if they are open there will be vulnerable people like me who will not be there, having been advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks. Things are far from what we wish them to be, but God can be trusted when we are apart as well as when we are together. We need to drink God’s Spirit by acting. Have faith in God. He is able to bring us through.
* Lyric from Tender by Blur (Albarn/Coxon)