I asked my Mother what the Holy Spirit was to her. She answered “I don’t think anyone knows really. It could be the conscience, or something else. I don’t know really.” As she said this, I felt a great sigh of relief within me. Somehow, a lot of Christians seem to have an answer to most questions concerning Christianity now-a-days. But the gospel has always been a mystery – a mystery that has been revealed to us, but a mystery nonetheless (1 Corinthians 2:7: “No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.”) The definition of mystery is “a religious belief based on divine revelation, especially one regarded as beyond human understanding” (Oxford Online Dictionary). To know that there are people who don’t have answers – people who have walked by faith for so long and in a humility that is hard to grasp is a comfort. It means that we do not NEED to know the answers. In fact, I don’t think we are required to have the answers. That is the secret of faith.
For a long time, I felt like I needed to know everything there was to know about the Holy Spirit, how He works, and how we should embrace Him and allow Him to work in our lives. But I’m not sure that’s a healthy way to approach God, our holy Creator. Because, we should be coming into His holy presence in reverence and awe; our attitudes should be humble and loving, willing to give everything to Him. And when we are in such a place, it is as if we are bowing before the King of Kings, acknowledging His awesome power and might. And when we fall face down, we cannot see, our eyes are cast down. When our sins have been forgiven, when we recognise that we can stand up and bear God’s light with a bold heart and a willing spirit, then we can see clearly. But it is not required of us that we see everything in order to be accepted as God’s children and for our hearts to be changed.
“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” (Psalm 139:15). As a science student, I have come to realise the impossibility of ever knowing everything there is to know. That means that we cannot understand the world around us in a way that does creation justice. We cannot understand how we are formed, the forces that drive each cell to form in the way it does. A baby is formed in a mother’s womb, but no one understands how each cell knows exactly what it is destined to be. So how are we to understand the things that are unseen to us?
It’s ok not to have answers. If we had all the answers, there would be no need for faith, for that blind passion that allows God to work in our lives. And perhaps that is all we need to know: that we are too tiny to know anything. That God will work in our lives if we let Him. That His Holy Spirit will dwell in us if we have a sincere desire to become one of God’s children and acknowledge His will as perfect and holy.
I don’t have a clue what God consists of, how He can be defined, our how I should perceive Him. But I know that He is all good. I know that He created me, and if He is all good, and He created me, then I must be good in His sight – at least the bits of me that were intended by Him. So I have a purpose, and that purpose is good, it was meant to be, it was intended. When God made me, He knew this day would come to pass. He knew that I would ask questions, have doubts. He knew the days would come where I would turn my back on Him. He knew that I would fall, cry, laugh, live, love, feel pain. And yet He still created me! I believe that if He created each of us, knowing our days and deeds in advance, then He must be giving us a chance to let what He placed within each of us outshine that which we placed within ourselves; all that sin and darkness and pain.
“The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:11-12).
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8).
I have come to understand the Holy Spirit as a force that works within us, often without us knowing. I have learnt that in God’s creation, seasons come and go within a different time frame from ours. Flowers will blossom, but first it must bud and gain strength, growing a bit each day. If we do not have patience and the willingness to allow God in our lives from the beginning to the end, we cannot reap fruit that comes from the trees of years of growing and building and waiting patiently, even when it seems like nothing is happening. Perhaps our biggest problem, and the reason for most of the world’s depression and anxiety is the fact that we try to have everything under control (for which we need a good understanding of a situation), but God’s creation goes beyond our ability to understand or have control over.
I am comforted by the fact that God is a God who never sleeps. He is forever watching over the beings that He Himself created. And what a wonderful creation. I know of no scientist who has attempted creating a soul, or a heart, or a mind. The body is one thing, but who is this God who can create that which dwells in our bodies!?
So I will leave you, and pray that you will be blessed with that gentle whisper that leads us into humble submission. It is not a lightening bolt revelation or a life-changing event.
It’s just a gentle whisper.