“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. Joel 2:28-29
Joel spoke these words in the later days of the Old Testament period. Centuries after that, Peter quoted Joel on Pentecost Sunday, when Jesus fulfilled His promise to send His Spirit to work in all people. Now, thousands of years after both Joel and Peter, what say you? Has God poured His Spirit on you?
Don’t feel ashamed if you answer, “I’ve never felt that.” If you say it, then you and me, we’re in the same boat. I’ve can’t remember a time where I felt fully indwelt by the Holy Spirit, able to prophesy, dream dreams that I know are visions from God. I’ll admit, sometimes that makes me sad. Sometimes, it even makes me feel jealous of people who have experienced it.
But I have felt God’s unique, undeniable presence in my life in other ways. I’ve told the story here before of how, on the night my father died, our pastor came to our house at 11 PM and led my wife and I in a short Bible reading. He read from Romans 8:28-39 and, in that reading, I instantly knew, deep inside of me, that everything he was saying was completely true. Jesus was exactly who He said He is. Everything that had happened in the Bible was true, and everything that Jesus had promised was gospel truth. I can’t explain it: I simply, instantly knew it and believed it. I can only attribute that faith to God.
And yet I kept falling into sin, again and again. My sins were public and severe, and I alone was responsible. Yet, one night, when I felt despairing and lonely, my wife looked at me and said, “God’s not done with you yet.” Once again, I instantly understood how everything she said was true. Her forgiveness wasn’t even fully there yet, but she shared His love with me, who deserved it least, and I completely accepted it was true. This, too, and her heart, I can attribute only to God.
The first moments I held my kids and grandkids. Moments of beauty under mountain skies and Disney lights. Christmas mornings before the madness begins; services (like yesterday’s) where I felt true connection to what was being preached; times when I’ve honestly said, “I forgive you,” knowing it was the right thing to do; feeling truly content in even moments of need: perhaps I’ve felt God pour His Spirit into me after all. Joel and Peter might agree.
For more reading: 1 Samuel 19:20, Isaiah 11:2, Jeremiah 23:25, Ezekiel 36:27, Acts 2:17-18, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:28, Joel 2:30
Father, all my praise to You for giving Your Spirit to me, to us.