Today in church, our pastor expounded on the role that the Holy Spirit plays in our lives as believers. Although I may have heard variations of the message before, it is always helpful to have a message reiterated. Such was the case this morning when I was reminded that the Holy Spirit was not a gift that I received upon becoming a believer but it was the Holy Spirit who led me to God in the first place.
I have often heard church referred to as a crutch in the lives of people who have reached rock bottom and need spirituality to help them through the dark times that they face. Pastor Ron’s words this morning helped me to define why I find this viewpoint so insulting.
It belittles my faith, and the faith of other believers, by implying that the only reason we have chosen to believe is that we had nothing else to grasp on to. Perhaps that is what it looked like to a bystander. It is also possible that it was at this point a person felt most vulnerable and that they were finally willing to listen to the Spirit and hear His voice.
I don’t always see the work of the Spirit in my life nor have I audibly heard the voice of God. However, I have felt His presence, have felt the whispers in my heart that have led me along paths that I would not naturally have chosen. His presence has kept me faithful, helped me to remain calm(er) during times of stress or difficulty. It is His presence I have seen glimpses of in the lives of friends who struggle to overcome situations that seem overwhelming from my viewpoint. They struggle through with, oftentimes, a clumsy grace that I know is the work of God in their lives.
We all face difficulties in life and it is unfair to infer that people of faith could not cope and that is why they believe and you don’t. I admire the courage of people who turn to God when they can’t cope. Even as a believer, it is not the easy choice. To step aside from your life and allow God to take control takes tremendous courage. When He steps in, He does not give you a map to show you where you are going. He says trust me and every morning you need to place your trust in Him again. Even when you wonder if He remembers that He is guiding the ship, not you.
This Sunday, that is set aside to remember the day that God’s Spirit came to earth, I thank God for the gift He sent me before I knew Him. I thank Him for the work He does with me each day. Both the works I can name and those that are still unknown to me. I thank Him for His presence in my life.