FAITHFUL LIVING: God's spirit refreshes, soothes us

I gained insight this week into one of the ways God interacts with us and the lesson was born out of an experience, neither planned nor initiated by me. Likewise, it was brief and ended almost as suddenly as it began.

It occurred early morning Wednesday as my cat jumped up upon my bed, rousing me from my sleep. At first I resented the intrusion, for I had spent the first half of the week running in 20 different directions and had cut back on sleep to accommodate my list of “To Dos.”

When I noticed that I had been awakened ahead of my alarm, I relished the thought of 30 more minutes of sleep, for I did not feel completely rested or energetic. Then again, I realized that if I rallied earlier than planned I would be one step ahead of the schedule I had fashioned for myself late the night before.

It was at that moment, feeling weary and indecisive, that I heard the chorus and felt the words soothe my tired soul:

Spirit of the living God,

Fall afresh on me.

Spirit of the living God,

Fall afresh on me.

Mold me,

Move me,

Fill me,

Use me….

Spirit of the living God,

Fall afresh on me.

I sat up in bed and smiled. It was one of those occasional moments I refer to as a “left field” experience. They are quick, intense, and invigorating. Sometimes they come to me as I am hurrying from task to task and my mind is momentarily idle, as if working on auto pilot. These left field experiences are also surprising, insightful, and energizing. They are verbal, but I cannot physically hear them and nobody else can hear what I detect. Rather, the sounds and the words I “hear” reach down into my soul.

Best of all, left field experiences are soothing. That is because it is God’s spirit moving and refreshing me when I lack the ability to move and refresh myself.

If you have attended a Christian worship service in the last few years, you may recognize the chorus I “heard.” During my childhood we frequently sang the song just before our pastor began delivering his message. The chorus shifted the focus of our attentions away from praise and worship and over to learning. And while singing this simple chorus became somewhat routine to me then, this week the words touched me in deep, new ways — when a little heavenly touch was just what I needed.

As a Christian, I believe that God exists in three forms: He is my Father, the Son (whom I know as Jesus) and a Spirit. To simplify this complex concept a bit (a concept I will, by the way, spend a lifetime incorporating into my own understanding) consider that water exists as a liquid, a vapor, and a solid, as ice. This practical example brings the idea down to a manageable level. We are promised that while God the Father remains apart from us, and Jesus came and went, the Spirit of God lives inside us and we are never left alone to fend for ourselves.

Some days I get so busy I do not notice this indwelling. But when I hear music that praises God, when I sense an urgency to respond to a life event with prayer, when I detect something dark and alarming, and when I experience a left field moment, I know God is with me. Deep inside. Reminding me that He knows and cares for me.

There is nothing scary or strange or mystical about this. It is amazing and private. It reminds me of a great promise God makes in the Bible: that when we are scared, tired, confused, not thinking clearly, or in any way incapacitated, God’s Spirit will move and work within us. And the great comfort of such a concept comes to me when life experiences scare me or seems to break my heart. God is there at all moments. He is a God that not only nudges us to live better and long for higher standards, but also comforts us when we need a heavenly touch.

The key to such experiences, I believe, is to acknowledge your need for God. Take time to be quiet and listen for God’s Spirit. It also involves being extremely diligent about putting into your heart and soul good things. Sing Psalms put to music. Memorize prayers. Set Bible verses to memory. Study the Bible. Pray. Fellowship and spend time with people who believe as you believe.

Such interaction sets into motion a relationship with God that will occasionally work independently of you to surprise, soothe and elevate your daily life.

Freelance writer Joan Bay Klope’s e-mail address is

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