Just over ten years ago, I received an invitation to attend something called a Life Course in London. At the time, I was exhausted from ministry and felt that God had something more for me, but I wasn't sure how to get it. All I knew was that the "life" I was experiencing as a Christian was not consistent with the "life" Jesus promised His followers. So, when I heard about this course that promised more "life", I was all in. Here is what happened: (this is an excerpt from my journal at the time.)
“Father, I’ve got to write about the journey you took me on this afternoon. I was nervous and afraid about what would happen, not sure why. I forgot your promise to never give me more than I can handle. Of course you didn’t. You were gentle and clear in your message delivered to me this afternoon [these are words that were spoken over me that day]:
I am with you:
- on my journey
- at my cross road
- new beginning
- on the mountain
- making decisions
- your desire to be with me alone
- walking with me along the path to come
- I AM WITH YOU
You know the pain and struggle I have felt from that sense of absence from you. You have heard my prayers and responded with a warm and loving message about being with me on this journey you are calling me to.
The Life Course was a powerful experience, but I know I will continue to need this daily. I have experienced your peace and presence so strongly tonight. Thank you for meeting me where I was, I am looking forward to tomorrow and experiencing more of you again.”
There is nothing more powerful and encouraging than experiencing God's love and presence. All those words spoken over me in prayer ministry changed my life. I knew all those things in my head, but the Holy Spirit poured them into my heart, and for the first time in my life I truly felt God's love for me. I remember lying in his presence and not wanting to move or get up, fearing that if I did He would not return.
However, what I have learned is that God is always present, waiting for us to come to Him so He can bless us and pour into us what our heart needs. The "life" we are created for only comes through the Holy Spirit. That does not mean we will always have these really powerful experiences, but we can trust that He is present and at work every time we go to Him.
Those words spoken over me at my first Life Course continue to be an encouragement and reminder of God's promise to me as I lead the church. "I am with you.......always" and that is usually enough for me to lead another day:)!!
"If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit." Galatians 5:25