Awesome Holy Spirit
A who's who of our best friend and counselor.
What do you think of when you hear people talk about the Holy Spirit? A mysterious force? An attentive friend? Do you like Him? Are you scared of Him? Are you sick of answering rhetorical questions in introductory paragraphs? Never mind. Here’s a few thoughts on the awesome person of Holy Spirit.
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26 NIV)
One of my favourite children’s programs on TV when I was little, was called Chocky. Based on John Wyndham’s book of the same name, it was about a young boy called Matthew who is befriended by a hyper-intelligent alien life form, called Chocky.
Chocky stays with Matthew all the time, but no-one else can see or hear her except as she speaks to them through Matthew. Chocky makes him sound incredibly smart because Chocky knows all sorts of amazing science that even the most brilliant scientists on earth haven’t worked out yet. Chocky is fun, she is cheeky. In short, she’s the very best kind of friend a boy—or girl—could wish for.
"We are permanently friended with the best friend ever."
Sound familiar? Holy Spirit is my Chocky—the very best friend I could ever hope or wish for. Even better than Chocky, because Holy Spirit isn’t, at the end of the day, a mere hyper-intelligent life form. He is God. He knows everything, but He’s fun and He wants to hang out with me.
Also, Chocky has to leave at the end of the story. This was the ultimate sadness for my poor, desperately longing child’s heart… I never ever wanted Chocky to go. But our Holy Spirit never leaves. We are permanently friended with the best friend ever. Not just a friend but family; He’s the Spirit, or essence, or life-breath of our Father and our Brother. We aren’t alone, abandoned or friendless. Holy Spirit fills the places the sad, lonely orphan spirit cannot reach:
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18 NIV)
"God likes silly."
One of the very surprising things about Holy Spirit is how fun He is. Funny too. I remember the first time I experienced the Holy Giggles. It was like someone had just told me the best joke I’d ever heard. I couldn’t remember the joke or the punchline, but it was hilarious. I tend to snort when I get the Holy Giggles. That in turn makes other people laugh because it’s truly un-ladylike. And before you know it, we’re all sniggering, snorting, guffawing and generally acting silly. God likes silly. Who knew?
We know God likes kids. And kids like Holy Spirit. At Kids Club at my church, the kids hold their hands out and invite Holy Spirit to come. I explain to them, you might feel heat in your hands, a wind, electricity or a fizzing. You might feel calm and peaceful or you might feel like laughing. That’s Holy Spirit tickling you. They really like the tickling.
“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” (Luke 10:21 NIV)
And how wonderful that Holy Spirit likes to jump around from person to person? I guess that’s how flames tend to move. What fun though, to reach your hands out and touch another person, and for them to feel God? The giddy, joyful person of Holy Spirit can also enter in like a truckload of peace and comfort so you feel you’ve been filled with very heavy loveliness. I’ve been known to slide off my chair into a heap on the floor when Holy Spirit has come to comfort me. Take that, tranquilizers. You’re a poor substitute for the presence of Holy Spirit.
"This amazing God who made the universe enjoys tickling us."
Come to think of it, He’s just better than any man-made substance you can name. Wine — the disciples were mistaken for drunks at Pentecost, but without buying wine and without a hangover. I’ve heard that drug addicts describe the experience of taking heroin as “a big hug on the inside”. That breaks my heart, because that’s just who Holy Spirit is — the comfort of God filling us up so we feel whole and beloved. As for cocaine, well the ecstatic high of the joy and freedom of Holy Spirit surely knocks that into a cocked hat. (Which is a strange British expression meaning ‘beats that.’)
Imagine how shocked the world would be if they really understood that everything they’re looking for in tranquilizers (peace), cocaine (joy), alcohol (carefree freedom) and heroin (comfort) comes totally free in the very person of God who wants to live inside of us, and never leaves. Imagine how shocked the Church worldwide would be if we could really get our heads around the awesome person of Holy Spirit. No wonder Jesus said it was better for us that He leave because then Holy Spirit would come. He came to be our helper. Bringing joy, peace, freedom and comfort seems like the very best kind of help to me. What else do you need?
Now some might say, ‘All this sounds extremely frivolous. Don’t forget, Mrs Richards, He is called holy for a reason’. I KNOW. And if that doesn’t just blow your mind entirely, I don’t know what will. This amazing God who made the universe enjoys tickling us. (If this offends you, just remember the One who created everything, arrived on this planet as a tiny, newborn baby. He doesn’t have a problem with coming down to our level.) But He also enjoys being awesome in the original sense of the world.
"Awe is when you feel delightfully small in the face of a beautiful greatness that moves everything inside of you."
Holy isn’t a word that conjures up a lot of pictures in my head. I kind of don’t know what it looks like. But when you look it up in the original language, the word Jesus used to describe Holy Spirit is hagios which means most holy thing, awe, reverent, sacred.
Awe. Awe is a word I can get on board with. Awe is that delicious feeling of being a very small child on your dad’s shoulders watching a firework display, with your jaw dropped open. Awe is when a new mother holds her baby for the very first time. Awe is when the bridegroom looks down the aisle and sees his bride, a vision of loveliness, who’s about to walk towards him. Awe is when you feel delightfully small in the face of a beautiful greatness that moves everything inside of you.
We have an air festival here in Bournemouth every summer and the highlight is when the nine Red Arrows fly. They zoom over in formations, ducking and diving and narrowly missing each other as they give an amazing air display. Then one of the jets zooms over your head and you can feel the deafening loudness of the engines in your chest. For some reason I can’t quite ever put my finger on, it’s incredibly moving. But to me, that’s awe. That feeling there.
"I can imagine the Elders and the Angels before the throne of God, wide-eyed and slack-jawed saying Wow. Wow. Wow."
And that’s wonderful Holy Spirit. He is awe. He is, in the truest sense, awesome. I can imagine the Elders and the Angels before the throne of God, wide-eyed and slack-jawed saying Wow. Wow. Wow. (Of course, their version is Holy, Holy Holy). They are overcome with Him and fall on their faces. How amazing is our God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
And THIS wow, wow, wow God; this overwhelming, amazing God, is always with us. He’s filling us, teaching us, coaching us, praying for us. An ever-present helper in times of trouble. What a friend, what a gift. Forget Chocky, church. Holy Spirit is here, and He’s the real deal.
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
(Luke 11.13 NIV)
Herewith a dangerous prayer:
MORE! We want MUCH MORE of you Holy Spirit! So much of You in us and on us that You touch every person that we meet. We want those who know You and those who don’t know You yet… to taste and experience Your peace, Your joy, Your freedom and Your comfort. So today, we’re asking for more. Much more of You. We love you Holy Spirit. You are awe-some.