John 14:16 American Standard Version (ASV)
16 And I will [a]pray the Father, and he shall give you another [b]Comforter, that he may be with you for ever,
Today, my brothers and sisters in the Lord, I feel led to take a break from our Acts study and go in another direction this week.
Thus far, in our post-Easter weekly studies, we have been discussing the power of the Spirit working in our lives, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, how they can enrich our lives while exhorting, and edifying the body of Christ. We’ve also discussed current events and the prophetic Word. I find it all to be really exciting stuff!
What about you? What about those of you who are struggling to take the next breath because of some ravaging physical or mental illness? What if you have recently experienced a tragic loss or some other catastrophic event? Are you wondering where God is in that? Where is the Spirit’s power in the face of such devastation and despair? It doesn’t even need to be catastrophic to the world, just devastating to you. It’s your heart we are talking about here, your life. You are feeling so incredibly…broken. And alone. How can the Holy Spirit of Pentecost be in this?
Well, I’m here to tell you that the Holy Spirit is here to minister to your wounded soul. He comes in the form of a Comforter. He is the listening ear so desperately needed, the strong, loving shoulder to cry on. The Spirit is the sister that brings you a meal, or, better yet, takes you to lunch. How about the friend that ‘lends’ you money with no expectation of when the money must be returned? Is the Holy Spirit not a comforter in that situation? God doesn’t always remove us from volatile or adverse situations, rather, he makes a way through them so that we can develop Godly character and we can see God working in our lives. Through these things, God is glorified and we are cared for, loved.
What happens when we experience all the hugs, the meals and our friends’ or families’ well-intentioned words of comfort or advice and it’s just not enough? What then? Does God look down on us and say, “well, the heck with ya then!”? No, of course not! He wants us to be honest with him about our feelings, no matter how angry, sad or confused we are. Look at the examples of God’s greatest saints. His mighty men he’d call them. Take a look at Moses. He killed a man, he was called by God to lead the Jewish people, God’s chosen people, to the Promised Land. Moses gave God every excuse in the world why he couldn’t possibly do the job! How about King David? One of God’s greatest warriors, chosen to be king by God himself. He was an adulterer and he had his lover’s husband killed at war. He only repented of his sin after it was pointed out to him by a member of his court. I could go on but I’ve made my point. Both men were honest with God about their feelings, both repented when repentance was needed. Both poured their heart out to God when they were sad and broken and God heard their cry.
That’s what God wants from us: honesty before him. He wants our sadness, our tears, our grief, despair, anger, frustration and all the circumstances that created those feelings. Lay them down before him and let them go. Once you have let the circumstances go, and you have poured your heart out, you may be ready to receive the Comforter and all the comfort he has to bring.
There are some ‘comfort killers’ that you may be experiencing. They are:
Initially, having such feelings are understandable and natural in many situations. God knows, he understands and he wants you to talk to him about them, just as you are. No need to candy-coat, mince words, or be ashamed. Say what you feel and be yourself. Let God, through prayer, his Word, and Godly Counsel, if needed, help you sort those feelings out. It’s not the honest saints of old that God was angry with, it was the shysters, people who were hypocritical or outright lied to him that he was upset with, i.e. Pharisees, Ananias, and Sapphira (sold land to give money to the apostles, kept some for themselves, then lied to Peter about it).
Now, if you’ve been holding onto those feelings for a while, if those feelings are interfering with your other relationships, with your job, ministry, etc. then it may be time to deal with those feelings once and for all. You are no longer in charge of your feelings, now they are in charge of you, casting a pall on all you do and say! I’m willing to bet you find yourself retrospective, longing for the ‘good ‘old days’ when life was simple and so much more enjoyable. That, my friend, is natural, but such a hindrance to moving forward past this difficult season in life. Such a quandary! So, if it’s natural but a hindrance, what’s the answer?
Christ Jesus, our Lord! Letting go of bitterness, choosing forgiveness, having hope, moving forward; they are all choices, a decision to make and follow through on before they are ever a feeling. Then, they are a commitment to do the same thing the next day and the day after and the day after that. Baby steps, one day at a time. I know. I have had to do it, too.
I’ll let you in on a family secret. My child passed away due to someone’s lack of action in caring for him. Nothing will bring him back. I have dealt with a world of guilty feelings myself. I’ve ‘passed the buck’ of guilt, so to speak, trying to ease my own guilty conscience since I wasn’t present when my child became ill. Coming to grips with a whole range of emotions has been quite the journey for me. In the end, there is me and my God in Heaven. And, on days like this, I lay my circumstances and my feelings of anger and despair down at the foot of the cross and choose forgiveness for those who inadvertently hurt my child, love for those who didn’t know any better, and hope for complete healing of my broken heart. Tomorrow is a new day. Let’s move forward together!
Papa in Heaven, I ask that you send your Holy Spirit, the Comforter to your children today. You know the ones who need your touch and exactly what kind of comfort they need. I also ask that your children may feel your comforting touch and that they know it could only come from you as a sign of your love for them. I ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen!