I don’t tend to like quote small groups studies. But I was really finding this group of people interesting and fun, so I swallowed my feelings for small groups and went to theirs, feigning eagerness to swap ignorance with these, my peers. We were reading, together, a book by Francis Chan. Good book, no doubt. We chatted about the Holy Spirit, about how we ignore Him, about how we don’t understand the Trinity so we talk Jesus-this and Jesus-that when Jesus talked Holy Spirit-this-and-that. It’s all messed up so we tried to make sense of some of it. It was as all small groups for me have ever been, a below-average life experience, but one thing gave me pause. Well, two things did.
The one was this question Chan asked in the book, “When’s the last time you saw the Holy Spirit work?” And I wasn’t worried when I read it. I’m a Bible-believing follower of Jesus Christ. This is no problem. It’s the “gimmie” question on the mid-term exam. It’s the golf ball you can sneeze into the hole, it’s so close to in. It’s the– Then I realized…I didn’t know. I didn’t know the last time I saw the Spirit work. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw the Spirit work. Oh my gosh. I hadn’t seen the Spirit work. Panic.
The other kind of pause was less dramatic. In trying to understand how we “see” the Spirit at work in our immediate lives, I was posing this question to these pseudo-friends of mine: Can you give me an example of experiential knowledge of the Spirit in your life? They spoke only in generalities when they answered and so I gave a story about how I felt my heart changed over time in praying for the salvation of my friends.
I was thinking of two whilst I spoke and told them how I’ve prayed for years the same prayer that ebbs and flows as the days roll on, just adjusting it’s dialect but always begging my God for the same result. When I used to pray, I believed that God would. I’ve always believed that He is able. I experienced the way He saved me from a life not unlike each of theirs, so it’s not a matter of not believing. But over time, little details change, huge shifts take place, my perspective grows and my heart is transformed. I don’t know how it happens, but I believe that God will in a new way now.
I know with an overwhelming confidence that, though these men are still in unlove with my Savior, that God is doing something. I pray the same prayer, still, but with a fresh kind of assurance. My point was that, I think the Spirit has shifted me. This is my experienctial knowledge.
Without realizing it, I had seen the Spirit work. A man across the group said my name to break the silence. Linda… He’s a quiet kind of guy, which is cute. From what you just shared with us, you have seen the Spirit work.
They startled me, his words. They nudged me with an elbow and I was just dozing off. Oh yes, I had! I sure had seen the Holy Spirit of this Living God work in my life.