understand about Christianity. What you think you know about the point of being a Christ follower at all. And what you think you should believe about the Holy Spirit’s role and very real presence in your life. Yesterday’s devotion jarred a memory in my mind. It took me back to a place and time where I listened to the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life. I sat by the bedside of someone who was dying. I prayed with them, witnessed them raise their hands as they called out to Jesus, and later that evening, held their feet as they drew their last breath.
So what? So you knew someone was dying and you went to pray with them, like a good Christian should do. That can hardly be deemed as your obedience to the “Holy Spirit”. At most it is a good person, trying to be good to a person who is going to die. It was so much more.
You see, this person I sat beside, praying with, witnessing them raise their hands to the Lord, crying out the name of Jesus, held a very key part of my life in their hands. They literally held the life of my father in their hands. This person, someone I loved, someone I had had many challenges with, someone I had learned to forgive – had literally taken my father’s life when I was just shy of one year old.
I hadn’t learned that until I was about five years old. The information would forever be a dark shadow over my life and cause more issues than I could have possibly known or understood. These shadows, only a select few would know I entertained. I recently saw a post stating, “Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made. If you want a different result, make a different choice.” I disagree. I did not choose to have my father taken away. I did not choose the step father that would do his best to take his place. I did not choose how people around me would respond once they found out whose daughter I was. I did not choose the depression that settled in my heart at such a young age, and would truly take a miracle to loose its grip on my life. My experience of life was a reflection of the choices of others.
However, it is true the depression and my experiences did cause me to make poor choices as an adolescent, teenager and young adult. Choices I later had to take responsibility for. The loss of my father and the story behind his death, was buried in my heart. It caused me to fight the stigma, seek a better life, rise above my circumstances. And I did. With a lot of “grit and spit” I guess you could say, and the help of God in my sophomoric relationship with Him, I was able to not allow the choices of others, and soon my own, to imprison me in a life I was statistically condemned to live.
Fast forward about eight or nine years to a time when God had helped me to get through periods in my life where the shepherds placed there did not do the best job in the world to help bring healing, strength, rest, nourishment and light into my life. In fact, many had failed miserably (I'm sure they were doing the best they knew to do), but God in His relentless pursuit of me had brought folks into my life who shared truth and love with me. He came and found me Himself, I could say! Praise God He did, because He began to paint a picture of what living in Him, and He in me, looked like. I began praying and seeking His will. He would share visions and compel me to do a thing, only to turn around and have it happen. My faith was growing as He was solidifying His very nature and existence in my heart and mind – casting out previous doubts, questions, and fears (yes I had plenty even as a proclaimed Christian).
One particular evening, He compelled me to pray. Pray for the person who had taken my father’s life. The one who had seemingly set into motion a series of events it felt like a life time could not erase. But Jesus could. As I prayed for this person, now facing a terminal illness, a vision began to take shape I simply could not believe. A scenario was knit together, literally causing me to shake my head, laugh out lout and say, “God, only YOU could do this. Only You.”
In my mind, there was way too much pride, resentment, anger, frustration, doubt and disbelief on both our parts for ANY measure of what He shared with me, to ever come to fruition. After this time in the prayer closet, I could not shake the Holy Spirit’s directive to reach out. To visit. To talk. To ask questions. To reconcile a relationship that had been estranged for many years, due to different circumstances. I would go. I would pray the whole way there. I would tremble. I would hate every minute of the drive. But I would rely on His Spirit in our conversation. I would rely on His grace in our encounters. I would depend on Him.
The last morning this person awoke, I was set to go to church. However, I had a strong sense I needed to go to their side instead. I sensed I NEEDED to go and pray. I had to forget about the tasks at church I was to see about. I had to trust someone else to fill in my role for my church ministry. I had to obey God’s Holy Spirit. And I did. I walked to their bedside, talked a bit, and asked if we could pray. A quick affirmative, and prayers were underway. As the vision God had shared so many months before took place with a certainty, I could only sense peace and gratitude. As I left, I knew the Lord had just brought this person I cared for, back to Himself. Later that evening, I knew He was holding their hand, as I was holding their feet.
Only God would know the irony of the events that would play out. Only He would know my temporal suffering would be traded in for an eternity of sorrows. Only God knew the events He would utilize to reach me. Only He could know I, as the once lost sheep who desperately needed a Shepherd, would then be called to help Him bring home another.
I will forever cherish the the decision to follow. I will forever be passionately devoted. Not because the Lord demands I do, but because He sought me out through unimaginable circumstances (though not as bad as some, but worse than others) and caused me to rest. Loved me. And soon loved others through me.
Past Blog Posts