God calls from out in left field

I gained a wonderful insight this week into one of the ways God interacts with us. My experience with God was not planned nor initiated by me. Likewise, it was brief; ending almost as suddenly as it began.

It occurred Tuesday, early in the morning, as the sunshine brightened my bedroom just enough to rouse 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 my sleep to accommodate my long list of “To Dos.”

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

It was at that very moment, feeling weary and indecisive, that I heard the chorus and felt words that soothed 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 fondly refer to as my “left field” experiences. They are quick, intense, and invigorating. Surprising, insightful, and energizing. They are also verbal, but I cannot physically hear them with my ears and if someone else were to see me they would not hear the sound I was hearing. Rather, the sounds and the words I “hear” reach down into my soul.

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

You may recognize this simple chorus. Written as a wonderful transition piece to move congregants from focusing on praise and worship themes during a service to providing additional insight into the pastor’s message, this simple chorus has never built me up like it did this week when a little heavenly touch was just what I needed.

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

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 with prayer, when I detect something alarming and worrisome, and when I experience a “left field” moment, I know God is there. Deep inside. Teaching and reminding me that He hovers, closely.

There is nothing scary or strange about this relationship with God. 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, on our behalf. And the great comfort of such a concept comes to me when I learn of great suffering that inevitably scares me, breaks my heart, and forces me to ask God about His plan. God is there at all moments. He is a God that not only nudges us to live better and higher, but also comforts us when we need a heavenly touch.

The key to such experiences, I believe, is to acknowledge your need for God. It requires that we take time to be quiet, unclutter our thoughts, and listen for God’s ideas. It also involves being extremely diligent about putting into your heart and soul good things so His goodness will capture your attention. Sing Psalms put to music. Memorize prayers and scripture. Fellowship and play with people who believe as you believe. Study the Bible. Pray.

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

Joan Bay Klope is a freelance writer and speaker who makes her home on Whidbey Island. Her award-winning column has run for 12 years in Western Washington newspapers. E-mail comments and speaking requests to faithful

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