I had an amazing, life-altering experience the other day. I've been meaning to mention it on my blog for a few days now, but I wasn't quite sure how to share this. But now time marches ever onward, and all I know is that I need to share it, regardless of how.
I've read that one who has been called into the ministry will be touched and blessed by the Holy Spirit before being sent forth to do His work. I've often wondered what that would feel like, and how I would know. How little did I understand. "Oh ye of little faith."
I try to meet with Pastor Fred at least once a week over a cup of coffee. We talk about the church, we talk about ourselves, but most importantly to me, he mentors me. I've learned a great deal about the ministry from him in the last few weeks. I don't know if he realizes just how much those meetings mean to me, but that's a story for another day.
One day last week, we had just finished up such a meeting. We had been discussing, among other things, my calling. After we were done talking, Fred went on his way to another meeting he had scheduled, and I remained behind at the restaurant to do some work on a Bible study I've been working on for quite some time. In fact, it's a study that Fred turned me onto. It's a challenging one, in Romans, about the old nature and the new nature. I've been getting a lot out of it. The Spirit has truly been speaking to me through this study. I've gotten a lot out of it, application-wise. And I'm nowhere near done.
But I had a lot of work to do, so I busted out my study Bible and my notebook and got to work. I proceeded to have what might just be the most blessed Bible study time I've ever had. There were a few moments where the Spirit showed me so much that my eyes welled up just a bit. It was almost overwhelming. And then something amazing happened.
When I first shared with Fred that I'd been called, he told me to keep my eyes open for a verse or a passage that the Spirit would show me, one that would directly speak to my calling. He said I'd know it when I saw it. And he was right.
So there I was, studying a verse in Romans chapter six, when I went to a particular cross-reference and I read it. There it was. The Spirit was speaking to me, and to me alone. These two verses were directly answering a question that had been on my mind from the beginning. I got a little emotional, as I read this passage and thought back on the last few months of my life. I could see the beginning of God's plan for my life playing itself out as, piece by piece, everything fell into place according to His will. I could see not only what he had planned for me, but I could see how He was working to bring it all together. I could see his Will in action, and it was an incredible feeling. Up to that moment in my life, I don't think I've ever felt quite so blessed. But that was about to change.
I packed up my books and, after one quick stop, I started on the drive home. I was happy, I was feeling blessed, and I thought that the Lord deserved some praise, so I fired up my iPod and went straight to the praise playlist. I drove home with praise music blaring on my speakers, and with praise on my lips as I sang to my God. A few moments later, my life changed. I felt an indescribable feeling. I wish I could put into words what I felt. I like to think of myself as something of a poet, but there were no words in my vocabulary for what I was feeling. As I've been rather fond of saying lately, trying to describe what I was feeling would be like trying to describe the color blue to a man who's been blind since birth.
I felt the touch of the Spirit. I felt His holy fire upon me. I felt righteous, blessed energy coursing through me and it was so powerful it darn near knocked the wind out of me. I had to pull over or I was going to lose control of the car. I had to pull onto the shoulder. I could barely manage to pull myself together enough to flip on my hazard lights. I was lost in the power of the Spirit. I was shouting praise at the top of my lungs. I was bursting with it and I couldn't give it to God fast enough or loud enough.
I don't know how long I sat on the shoulder before I was able to get it together enough where I could continue driving. Based on how long it took me to get home, I would have to have been sitting there a good twenty minutes. But time meant nothing to me during that life-changing moment.
I spent the rest of the day with an ear to ear smile on my face. How could I not? I had been in the Lord's presence. And I will never be the same.