I've been reading good books lately and thinking about important things. Soul work. I am slowly softened, continually regenerated. The Holy Spirit comes and guides me, purposefully it seems, to the stuff I need to hear, need to read, need to savour. This past week, a new wind began to blow in my devotions. Tuesday night (Wednesday morning, really), I sat with glazed eyes and watched Eric and Aaron play their 1,000th game of Tetris that night. It wasn't mind numbing though- real conversation was happening. The men were talking, building each other up, this is the technology-age take on sitting in the boat fishin' and talkin' about nothin'. You know how guys have to DO something to bond. Anyway, finally Aaron announced that he really needed to go. He had to get up early for Ecclesiastes, to read it. He said, "It's kind of blowing my mind." I asked why, and he told me.
Next morning, I was sucked into Ecclesiastes too. Solomon had done it all. He was the wisest man to ever live. The richest man in the land, he travelled the known world and tried it all: women, food, drink, adventure, power, insight, pleasure. His final word on all of it- "There is nothing new under the sun." Ultimately, life is a breath. In the end, we all die. In the end, your Nobel Peace Prize is going to rot. Your banking empire will be handed down to someone who will squander it. Even your lifelong investment in training and loving your own children may be all for naught. Again and again, Solomon declares "This too is meaningless."
Slowly, so slowly I was getting a picture. A feeling. Ecclesiastes compelled me. Instead of feeling disheartened and despairing by the "meaningless" state of life, I was stable, steady, at peace. Wednesday morning, Thursday morning, I read and read. I drank in the repetitive nature of the book,
"Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God willThursday evening, we travelled to small group. It was "full group", and the plan was for extended prayer time. I considered my week, full of late nights and early mornings (Ecclesiastes included), and thought I might actually fall asleep for extended prayer time. I arrived nauseated with exhaustion and car sickness. But joyful. Joyful in the fellowship of other believers, trusting that God was there.
call the past to account." (vs. 3:15)
Extended prayer time wasn't fatiguing. There were heartfelt petitions for employment, healing, refreshing. Tears were poured and hearts were laid bare, desiring more. More from God, would the Holy Spirit come and meet us? A Brother believed that God was giving him a tongue for the Body. Yes, that. Speaking in tongues at a small group. I'd never heard it before, but I *we* believe that it isn't outside the realm of possibility. We are open, and so we prayed and invited the Holy Spirit and all His giftings, including discernment.
He prayed and we listened, silently asking for interpretation. Willing, but travelling uncharted waters. Like a child who looks to their parent, "Is this OK dad? I've never done this before.", looking for the assuring smile and nod from Father. I sensed that more was coming. The Holy Spirit was moving, washing through the room, coming over me with warm pressure. Scared, dependent, shaking, on the edge of a precipice of faith. We're not used to following. It still feels scary, bringing an unfamiliar rush. This feeling is distantly familiar, but it makes the breath catch in my throat each time. Then the interpretation came,
"He wants us to know that He loves us. He loves us. We are
small. But He loves us. He. gave. his. own. son. for us. He
That was my voice, my tears. Those words were forced out, not by me. They had to be spoken. God was giving us a gift. My heart was stabbed through deeply. He wants to tell me that He loves me? That's it? Then in a moment of revelation, "It's that important that I we know that He loves us. And that we are small ." He gave the gift of a tongue and an interpretation to an unlikely audience. His message is important. I was struck through with the weight of this moment. A moment when, and just for a moment, we transcended the line between space and time, the mundane reality always at our fingertips and the invisible spiritual plane of glorification.
***to be continued***
***EDIT: After this post was read by a number of people who are far more educated than myself, my Senior Pastor pointed out that what I thought was the gift of interpretation of a tongue was probably the gift of prophesy instead. This doesn't make the evening less meaningful or negate the message. The only reason I post this edit is to help other believers deepen their understanding of the spiritual gifts and develop sound theology. Here is what my small group leader wrote in an email on this subject-
Becca Pat's words after the tongue was spoken was not an interpretation of the tongue, it was a gift of prophecy. How do we know that's true? If you read through 1 Corinthians 14:13-19, it describes the gift of tongues: "I will sing praise with my spirit....give thanks with your spirit". Reading directly from my notes from the Holy Spirit Seminar 2 months ago: "What are tongues? Speech directed towards God. Prayer or praise or thanksgiving to God.... The interpretation will always be prayer or praise or thanks to God. If not, it is not an interpretation."
Just thought I should clarify. Grace to you all!***