Last night I experienced the Spirit. Having grown up in a conservative and very genuine loving Christian family I can honestly say this isn’t something we Anglicans talk about (let alone experience actually believe really happens) very often.
And now this is the second time so I can’t peg this to being a dream, or my imagination. It is entirely different. Nor can I keep it to myself.
So here’s the back story that lead to last night.
What “Peace” feels like
The Bible refers to the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ being love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. A couple of years back I woke to a horrific dream. It was one of those dreams that terrify you and I could not go back to sleep. Watching the clock and tossing and turning for two hours I finally asked God for sleep. And he answered me with so much more as I laid there I felt what I can only describe as Peace falling on me. All thoughts of the dream went away and I saw what looked like a sheet of satin or the surface of water rippling away from me. But it wasn’t so much what it looked like as what it felt like.
I could honestly say that night I did sleep in heavenly peace. Whenever I have doubted God exists I remember this night because I know I called out to God and only because He loves me, and only because He is all the qualities listed above did He in a very real sense come to my rescue.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Then, last night I am so excited to say God showed me what “Joy” feels like.
The last night I was troubled by a decision James, my husband and I have made. I have been concerned that the direction we have taken is one that God wants us to. I have been searching for answers, praying and asking for guidance. Then I remembered a Psalm from when I was a little girl.
Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path….”
So I headed up to bed and opened up Psalm 40
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
4 Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.[b]
5 Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
I also remembered a fantastic talk we heard in the Philippines – about how God puts us where we are and that He will choose to use us for His purposes. I also remembered that Jesus asks us to hand all our troubles to him – and that He will take the burden of our worry.
So I confessed my worries to God, asked him to take the burden. Hoped that I had taken the Scriptures into my actions and heart, turned off the light to go to sleep and the loveliest thing happened.
I noticed that someone had arrived. It didn’t scare me at all as it dawned on me a few seconds later that it was the Spirit, but this time, unlike the first, a felt a level of Joy I have never experienced before. And I am almost unable to find the words to describe the happiness that – as the bible says – descended on me “like a dove”. I felt so relieved to be free of the worry I had been carrying. I could feel I was smiling. All worries of a few moments ago were gone and what replaced them was this incredible Joy.
I woke up this morning remembering another part of the Psalm above
9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips, Lord,
as you know.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
from the great assembly.
So here I am 5am wide awake and typing at my computer to share what happened.
I know some won’t believe what I have experienced – frankly I always thought this level of Spirtual hoo-ha a little too charismatic for this little Anglican, but it turns out God thinks differently.
So are you worried? Turn it over to God. Leave it with Him. He has control of it anyway so there is little logic to holding tight to your worries. Read over Psalm 40 and he will indeed place your feet of a rock and give you a firm place to stand.
Written 13 May 2013