“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn– shout for joy before the LORD, the King.” (Psalm 98:4-6, NIV)
My wife and I felt like we were going nowhere in a legalistic church. We wanted to experience our Heavenly Father but didn’t know how; and since there is nothing God would rather do than to reveal Himself to His children, He came through.
Interestingly, He didn’t come through for my wife in the same way He did for me, nor at the same time…God works on each of us in our own way, and at the time when we will be the most open to Truth. Today I will share my wife’s experience:
As my wife entered the room to do an initial assessment on a new patient one Wednesday afternoon, she was confronted with an unusual question: “Are you a Christian?”
A bit blown away, my wife responded, “Uh, yes! I AM a Christian.”
“Good,” responded the lady. “I don’t like to work with non-Christians.”
Later that same afternoon, when my wife came back to give her results and the team’s recommendations, this patient again had a mind-boggling, very out-of-context question: “Do you have the Holy Spirit?”
“Of course,” responded my wife. In retrospect, it wasn’t true, but given where we were coming from, she actually thought she had received the Holy Spirit…
This patient didn’t quite buy it, for she had one further question for my wife: “Do you speak in tongues?”
My wife responded truthfully that she did not, but that there are different ways to experience the Holy Spirit.
The patient agreed with this, but she proceeded to argue that the gift of tongues is a special gift that would be of benefit to every Christian. She ended the session by telling my wife she would be praying for her to receive the gift of tongues.
My wife was flabbergasted, for she didn’t even want to speak in tongues. After all, she had always been taught that speaking in tongues was of the devil. Following this incident, however, she began to do an in-depth search of the Scriptures regarding speaking in tongues. She was shocked to learn that what our church taught was not in accordance with Scripture. As a result, she began to pray a sincere prayer: “God, if there is a gift that You want to give me that would help improve my walk with You, I want it!”
My wife continued to pray this same prayer every day for several weeks, and then, one day, in our living room, in the early hours of the morning, she received the gift.
That same evening, her father, a physically-fit man who was running across the United States at the time, died suddenly of a heart attack, and the thought occurred to my wife that her dad had died because she had gone into the “forbidden” zone, and that God was not happy with her that she now spoke in tongues…
She had no idea if this thought was accurate or not, but after so many years of church indoctrination, she couldn’t shake the idea. She decided to leave it in God’s hands: “If this is truly a gift of You, Father, please let me know!”
My wife prayed this prayer for over a year, and God sent her message after message, assuring her that this was, indeed, a gift from Him. She asked for general signs, and He gave them to her. She asked for specific signs and received them. She asked for the reverse of her specific signs, and she received them, too. Finally she was satisfied that this was a gift of God and that it had nothing to do with her father’s death.
Unfortunately, she was now a Spirit-filled Christian in the midst of a church and family that did not believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were for our day and age. She didn’t know what to do, so she kept it all secret. Even from me.
Naturally, God was not finished with her; but recognizing that she needed to move forward at her own pace, He shifted the focus of His molding work to me for a time, and this will be the focus of our next devotional.
In the meantime, the takeaway from today is this: God is amazing! He works on each of us in our own time and way, for He cares for us individually. Let us give God the glory He deserves: “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn– shout for joy before the LORD, the King.” (Psalm 98:4-6, NIV)
(To access the entire “Devotions From the Psalms” Devotional series, please click here.)