Just for funsies, and a bit of atmosphere:
This week was Holy Spirit week. Last weekend, I’m not gonna lie, I was panicked. My only dose of YWAM’s version of holy spirit has been at worship times, like that first Sunday, when people were hitting the ground. (Read This Just got REAL for details.) Amy Ward, our speaker, is well known for “Holy Spirit encounters” happening whenever she speaks. I was NOT looking forward to an entire week of this. Furthermore, everyone else was so pumped for this week. I was like, “Am I the only one not excited? Anyone else freaked out?” I felt incredibly isolated, like no one would ever understand where I’m coming from, like I would forever be on a different page. Monday I steeled myself and listened to Amy’s testimony in something resembling terror, wondering if she was going to call the holy spirit down and people would start flying out of chairs. I know for a fact I was listening with skepticism and cynicism. Nothing unusual happened Monday, she just talked. I don’t know if I could describe Amy Ward as a normal person, but she is, you know, a person. It was evident from what she said that she was thoroughly acquainted with what the adversary’s power was like, and should recognize the difference. It was also evident that she wanted, with all her heart, to follow God.
On Monday night, I prayed. (I’ve committed to giving God an hour every day, on top of everything they have planned for us. Just an hour of me and God time. To pray for what’s on His heart and mine, and to let Him help me process. It’s been amazing!) I prayed for the majority of the time for Him to get me through the week, protect all of us, keep things in line. Then, at the very end of my prayer time, something went click, and I thought, “What am I doing?” I don’t want to survive this time! I don’t want to make it through safely! I’m here to learn and grow and thrive! So I changed my prayer. I asked God to change my heart toward Amy and the people around me. To stop thinking of them as dangerous (I WAS THINKING OF THEM AS DANGEROUS!?) and remember that they all want to follow God with everything they have and even if they do get parts wrong God will protect them and honor their hunger. I asked for Him to teach me teach me teach me this week and show me new perspectives on His love and working and power. I told Him that I couldn’t believe that some of these “holy spirit encounters” are Him, because I can’t see how they agree with scripture, but acknowledge that I could be wrong and I’d rather be proven wrong than continue to stubbornly think I’m right and be prevented from receiving the fulness of everything He has to offer.
Guys, I think that was one of the most important realizations I’ve had. In my life to date. I feel like I’ve been on a pendulum, pulled slightly off to one side, but so afraid of swinging to the opposite side that I refuse to let go of the rope that’s holding me where I am. But that very same rope is preventing me from getting to the equilibrium of truth. I have to let go of that fear, let go of the bias of what I think I know and be willing to swing a little, trusting that God will eventually settle me correctly in the equilibrium of truth as I keep seeking it. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT saying I should let go of scripture. That’s not what the rope is. The thing holding me in place at the moment is my bias, my assumption that I already know everything that scripture is saying. I’m just gonna settle that once and for all. I don’t. We don’t. Nobody does. Nobody has a perfect understanding of scripture. That’s why we keep studying it. But I propose that we can’t just study it in an echo chamber and keep assuring ourselves that we’re right because we’re only listening to one side of the story. Truth will stand, even surrounded by error. So there’s no reason to fear fully hearing out “the other side.” When it comes to the body of Christ, we’re all ultimately on the same side. I’m so thankful to be in a place where I really do see that lived pretty well. Not perfectly, but better than many places.
As to all this holy spirit stuff, I still don’t agree with a lot of it, but I’m open to it if God can help me see from the Word that it’s ok. Aunty Mary (shout out!) happened to text me out of the blue Monday night with some insight that really helped me (from Randy Clark, I believe). “No revival is all God. There’s always wildfire where there is real fire. It’s part of the strategy of the enemy … Give me revival without wildfire, but if you can’t, give it to me wildfire and all.” Amen to that! Whenever there’s a big movement of God, you can bet the adversary will show up too. And since we humans are imperfect, there are going to be cracks for him to infiltrate. Does that mean we shut down the revival? NO! That’s what he wants us to do! That means we chase God harder! We save more souls! We raise up more disciples! We heal the sick, raise the dead, set the captives free! The devil may try to muddy the waters, but the answer isn’t to take the water away, that leaves just dirt. The answer is to release a flood so the mud is barely noticeable.
So in the end, this holy spirit week which I was dreading so much has actually been one of my favorites. God is good. He will overcome. And guys, He inexplicably wants to partner with US to change the world! Only He knows why. But I, for one, am not gonna miss out on that epic calling because of fear.