I write this on Pentecost Sunday, a day set aside in the church year, fifty days after Easter Sunday, to commemorate the event of Christ’s apostles being filled with His Holy Spirit. This promised Comforter was to lead them into all truth and to teach them. On Pentecost, the Spirit came in tongues of fire, hovering over each recipient, personally filling each one to walk out his life in Christ with boldness. (Acts 1)
I have known this Scripture from my childhood, was confirmed in the church of my youth with the sacrament acknowledging the Spirit’s presence within me. Yet today, one phrase in this account stuck out for me with new meaning. I thought of our chronic pain and illness community; “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 1:4).
Often this accounting is part of the charismatic teaching on the gifts the Spirit bestows. I am not negating that.
What I “heard differently” today in this reading was how all of us have been given, not only the Holy Spirit, but a different language that each of us has learned, one that only the Holy Spirit can help us discern. We use it as we talk to one another because we each know the language of pain and suffering. We each know the feelings that accompany a life changed dramatically, tearing at the identity we once had and causing us to fumble around wondering if God can use us or how He will use us in spite of or because of our afflictions.
What remains constant when illness and pain enters our lives is God’s Holy Spirit?
I am renewed to focus, not on the burden of the new language, but the gift it is that allows the Holy Spirit to guide me in the truth and teach me how to walk more deeply with Him. He knows how hard the road can be. He can speak to me with authority. I can reach for the comfort that only He can give and receive it with faith. He has more to teach me and ways to reach me as we partner on this road that we walk together.
Prayer: Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Break me, melt me, mold me, fill me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. (From a song penned by Daniel Iverson)
About the Author:
Lynn Severance is a retired elementary classroom teacher. She lives in Lynnwood, Washington. She writes to encourage others as God has encouraged her during 30 years of living with daily physical challenges. Visit Lynn’s blog and sign up to receive new postings in your email box! http://lynn-severance.blogspot.com
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How would you describe the way/s you experience the Holy Spirit? How have you found that He personally comforts you? Do you recognize Him as the author of a new language you are learning to speak and use as you face your daily challenges?