Unwrapping the Spirit

“Our view of the Holy Spirit is too small. The Holy Spirit is the One who changes the church, but we have to remember that the Holy Spirit lives in us. It is individual people living Spirit-filled lives that will change the church.”Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

Francis Chan

Sometimes, you just know things.

Like the night in February of 2007, as we accelerated down the eastbound ramp onto I-70 ten hours before a scheduled C-section. “I can’t help thinking,” Christian said, “how good everything has been lately. I keep waiting for it to hit the fan.”

I think my response was something like, “Christian, sometimes there is only one shoe.”

Twelve hours later, the words Trisomy 21 entered our vocabulary. Somehow, somewhere deep inside, he knew.

It used to happen to me a lot, when my life was simpler, my mind less cluttered. The summer of 1995, I commuted half an hour one way to work at Sears. For three months, I drove on too little sleep, and was plagued by a vision that made me cringe—the hood crunched up on the driver’s side. On the last day of the summer, I rear-ended a truck in construction traffic, an accident whose damage was limited to the driver’s side hood.

Call it premonition, call it instinct, call it whatever you want—it’s real. I used to shy away from admitting that I believed this, because it seemed incompatible with Christian faith—like belief in séances, something vaguely demonic.

But I don’t feel that way anymore, because I’ve come to understand something about those feelings. They’re not demonic. In fact, they are quite the opposite. Those feelings are nothing more or less than the whisper of the Holy Spirit.

This makes the Spirit real to me in a way that the human figure of Jesus never has become—something I feel weird about, considering I’m a Christian, but there it is. It’s the Spirit I turn to when I’m reach the end of patience, when I’m struggling with a decision, when I’m blocked, when I’m having trouble sleeping. When the noise of my thoughts drowns out peace and serenity, it’s the Spirit I ask for help in releasing control and chaos. And, perhaps most importantly, I ask the Spirit for wisdom, understanding and inSpiration in parenting. And, as I have written elsewhere, I truly believe that Mother’s Intuition is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

This all sounds terribly spiritually mature, but don’t be fooled. Every so often I have reason to thank God for crises avoided, for gorgeous words or melodies. But mostly, the Spirit works in unobtrusive ways in a small radius from me. If I was really tuned in to the divine promptings, what He might accomplish through me?

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