Unparalleled Gift. Holy Spirit, Difference Maker #4
“Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” I can hear Garth Brooks crooning the sweet song.
You know this to be true … times when you prayed that such and such a thing would happen, and it did not. As you look back, it was a good thing it didn't! You could not know then or see the outcome, but God did. And as for the times that you prayed that God would remove a ‘trial’ or great pain from your life, and he did not, you now see that it was then that your faith in Him grew—it was then that God carried you! ah, the benefit of hindsight.
See, if a person trusts God—really believes that God’s heart toward him is good—then he can truly accept what God allows to come into his life. It is why Job could say, ‘The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’1
LISTEN TO PODCAST: https://www.pastorwoman.net/podcast/episode/ff4ff00b/the-gift-that-keeps-giving-12623-holy-spirit-difference-maker-4
The ancient Stoic believed that nothing could happen to a man which did not come from God and which was not part of God’s plan for him.2 From Epictetus, second century Stoic philosopher, this challenges me, “Have courage to look up to God and to say, [do push through the ancient grammar] ‘Deal with me as thou wilt from now on. I am as one with thee; I am thine; I flinch from nothing so long as thou think that it is good. Lead me where thou wilt; put on me what raiment thou wilt. Wouldst thou have me hold office or eschew it, stay or flee, be rich or poor? For this I will defend thee before men.’” Wow...such faith, such courage from the man.
From whence did Epictetus derive such courage, such esteem of God? What emboldened him to trust God so unswervingly?
Here it is: remember we are investigating the person of the Holy Spirit, third member of the Trinity, recalling that before Jesus returned to the Father, he told his followers to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promised Gift the Father was going to send: the Holy Spirit.3
Holy Spirit, one of the three distinct persons of the Trinity. Huh--how to understand the Trinity and what we read in Scripture... Using the analogy of a newspaper, in the Old Testament God the Father is on the front page. His is the voice we hear the most, and His are the actions we see carried out the most. In the Gospels, Jesus is front-page news. He is the superstar. We see references to God the Father, but Jesus is 'above the fold'. Yet from the book of Acts onward, the Holy Spirit headlines.4 The Holy Spirit sent to inhabit the believer's spirit, would change people from the inside out.
We looked at the various ways the Holy Spirit helps us in the last Morning Briefing, 'You've Got a Friend?' - https://conta.cc/3j551tM. He is our Advocate. The apostle Paul taught us so much about the Holy Spirit--how we can relate to Him and even how He functions, particularly in our lives. He prays for us. In fact, one of the most encouraging things Paul said as he was writing to the Romans, was this:
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
For we do not know what to pray for as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us
with groanings too deep for words.
And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8.26-27 my underlining above
Considering this truth, we surely must hear the words of our Savior ring out again: I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.5 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.6 And this forever Presence of the Holy Spirit is constantly interceding or praying fervently for us--that is to say, he is taking our needs before the Father, asking Him to answer according to His will. Garth's unanswered prayers fits in right here because He knows best.
But do not miss the first line--The Spirit helps us in our weakness. Life is often hard, and sometimes we grow weary in the battle; words escape us. The reminder of this active role of the Holy Spirit in our lives ought encourage us greatly. Never forget that the Holy Spirit is with you and He is praying for you. Wow, that is powerful--truly a gift that keeps on giving.
Moves me to Gratitude: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSBZryBPSzA
You are Never Alone,
1 - Job 1.21
2 - Greek philosopher
3 - Acts 1.4-8
4 - Tony Evans, The Power of the Holy Spirit's Names, 2022
5 - John 14.18
6 - John 14.16-17