Oh, for the days and ways of people who may express their spirits physically! You know: lifting holy hands, dancing, falling to the ground, wailing, laughing, kneeling… all of this in full view of everybody else, since they, too, express the movement that is happening inside their spirits, on the outside.
Do you ever feel as if the Holy Spirit moves in you as if you were a Jewish person 3,000 years ago when the body and soul were regarded as a unified entity? It’s like He believes it would be perfectly normal for us to dance in the streets, proclaim praises in the Sanctuary, or cover our heads with ashes? He fills us with these feelings, thoughts, or beliefs and it’s almost as if we need to remind Him: “Psst: it’s not okay to express that anymore. Things have changed a little bit.” The more time I spend with God, the more I realize that – although our surrounding culture has changed (reserving physical expression for R-rated films and pro sports games) – He has not changed.
He created humans to be physically spiritual beings.
And He still treats us as such.
Sometimes, God fills me with so much joy, sorrow, gratitude, or repentance that I think I’ll just explode (!) if I don’t react outwardly. If I’m in an environment where it’s just “not okay” to express my spirit, I clam up in my confined body – soaring or wailing on the inside; but standing quietly on the outside. While there is an appropriate time for standing quietly, I think “that time” is not as frequent as I experience it.
I’ll say it straight: I treasure the moments when my spirit and body are united; when they respond to God single-mindedly.
I long for the day when this is the norm.
Until then, I’ll mourn and shake off all of the awkward moments when my spirit compromises itself for the sake of culture or self-consciousness.
Anyway, because I walk around in a near-exploding existence, (Come on, don’t tell me I’m alone in this!) I realize that, too often, I clumsily express my spiritual passion like a torrent, blowing people away, flooding out the roadways, and trampling the trees down. As my precious daughters mature, I recognize how important it will be for me to control the weight of my passion so that they are not discouraged, intimidated, or turned-off, but instead, inspired, encouraged, and nurtured in their faith.Â So my prayer is always that God would calm me down, grow self-control in me, teach me how to live with a torrent on the inside without becoming a torrent on the outside.
I’m on the journey of learning more about this…
In the meantime, I just had to share a beautiful passage of Scripture with you that puts its finger on something important.
In Deuteronomy 32, Moses speaks to Israel, beginning with a gentle and wise prayer:
“May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb. For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God!”
Ha! I love this because – here’s Moses, on the precipice of falling into exulting praise of our Most Holy God – and He’s asking, “Oh, dear Lord, let me be gentle because… oh, no, here it comes… I’m ABOUT TO PROCLAIM THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD AND I… CAN’T… STOP…”
The man’s spirit explodes into a flood of God’s goodness, justice, vengeance, praise, and protection.
You’ll just have to read the rest of Deuteronomy 32 to see the flood for yourself.
Sure enough, the only way this glorious torrent of praise could be transformed into gentle rain droplets that slowly soak into the ground, protecting the most tender herb, is through the Most Holy God who inspired the torrent in the first place.
Did you know that Moses doesn’t walk away from this teaching by self-consciously asking his spouse, “Was I too much in there?” (Can you tell I’ve had to ask that once or twice in my life?)
Instead, he confidently verifies:
“…it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”
Did you know that these were some of the final words that Moses spoke before the Lord led Him up to the mountain to die?
It seems to me that the Holy Spirit honors Moses’ wise prayer. It seems to me that He gathered that whole flood of adoration into His huge hands, and – to this very day – He trickles it out over one person at a time: from Moses, to the Israelites, to their children, to their children, to Jesus, to the apostles, to the discliples, to the Church, to me, to you.
And one raindrop of its glory floods up in me and all I can do is… crash.