I love Barbara Brown Taylor. In one of her sermons from this collection, she explains the Holy Spirit. I finally get it! For the first time ever, it makes sense to me! I read the sermon this week while I was on the subway and got so excited. Once it was a little easier to understand, my heart was instantly more open to experiencing the Holy Spirit and recognizing it. More on that in a bit. In the meantime, thank you Barbara!
I picked up this novel yesterday during a book-buying extravaganza. It's about what Jesus would be like if he were with us in person today. I'm halfway through it already, and I'm finding it very inspiring. The writing isn't the best (the dialogue is very unrealistic - everyone sounds very stilted and forced when they talk), but "discovering" Joshua/Yeshua/Jesus and what it would be like to hang out with him, watch him work (as a woodworker), listen to him talk about just about anything, and share a meal with him (homemade chicken soup, fresh bread, vegetables from his garden, a glass of red wine) has given me a sense of peace and made me want to be like him even more than before. The book even gave me a new way of thinking about my church dilemma.
And then this morning, my devotional was this:
When you invite Christ to rule over your heart, you avail yourself of his power. And make no mistake about it: You and Christ, working together, can do miraculous things. In fact, miraculous things are exactly what Christ intends for you to do, but he won't force you to do great things on his behalf. The decision to become a full-fledged participant in his power is a decision that you must make for yourself.
The words of John 14:12 make this promise: When you put absolute faith in Christ, you can share in his power. Today, trust the Savior's promise and expect a miracle in his name.
So, I decided to do just that: trust God and expect a miracle. After I prayed this morning, asking the Holy Spirit to fill me and asking God to use me for his purpose and asking for the peace that Jesus knew, something popped into my head - exactly the way that Barbara Brown Taylor described in her sermon. I immediately thought of my best friend who has been trying to get pregnant for two years. I've been praying for her and her husband for a long time, but suddenly I got a strong feeling that I needed to lay my hands on her somehow and that God would finally bless her with a baby. The image of touching her stayed with me all morning on my way to work. When I got to work, my friend (we work together) wasn't there yet and she ended up coming in late. When she got in around 10, the feeling kept at me. I actually felt nervous and jumpy and tingly. That made me smile because I always feel that way during a certain time of my cycle, and I'm at that point now - AND one of the things that Barbara Brown Taylor mentioned in her sermon is that sometimes people chalk the Holy Spirit up to hormones. :-)
Anyway, I tried to stop by my friend's office a few times, but she was either on the phone or in a meeting. Finally, on my way out to lunch, she was alone so I walked in and just said, "Hey - I know this is going to sound weird, but I need to give you a hug." And my friend jumped up, and we had a wonderful, loving hug. (She loves to give hugs anyway, so it wasn't that strange for us. We've been friends for 17 years.) And then she told me that she really needed it because her father, who is trying to recover from brain cancer, had just called her, sobbing. We talked for awhile and I tried to be as good a friend to her as she has always been to me.
And, as crazy or irrational as it sounds, I honestly believe that she will get pregnant now. Maybe God was just leading me to give my friend a hug at the moment when she most desperately needed it, and that it was just about giving her comfort. I believe it was that and more. I'm not saying that I am a performer of miracles. But I have this feeling that God asked me to do this as the clincher - that, after all of the prayers that have gone up for my friend, God needed me to do this one thing to enable her to get pregnant. I suspect that this miracle is partly for my friend (because of course I'll tell her about this one day) and partly for me. It helped me have an amazing experience of faith, and I'm so thankful for it. I've been at peace all day because of it. At peace AND wanting to shout, "WOOHOO!" :-)