I wrote this little reflection several years ago, but it’s always a good reminder…
Last Sunday during worship, I took the kids to their respective Sunday school classes and then hit up the restroom. (Fear not: this is not a bathroom story; I was only washing my hands.)
While there, God whispered a verse from Scripture into my brain. This is one of the most frequent ways God seems to speak to me. It’s been happening more lately, which I’m thrilled about. And yet, I’m also aware that I am just plain not listening about 85% of the time.
When it happens, the time and place always seem out of left field, and the verse is usually seemingly random. And it’s often a verse or a story that I not only haven’t encountered in a while but also one I shouldn’t know well enough to quote to myself. These are how I know it’s from the Lord. Sometimes I’m not sure why He calls it to mind until several days or even weeks later, like the time I kept repeating “talitha koum” to myself for no apparent reason until the reason became apparent. (Maybe I’ll tell you about that one someday.)
This time, though, I knew what it was about immediately.
It was John 20:29, when the resurrected Jesus appears to “doubting Thomas” and, at the end of their conversation, says: “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen me and yet have believed.” (emphasis mine)
Just before this, Jesus breathes on the other disciples to receive the Holy Spirit. But, Thomas isn’t there for some reason. Honestly, guys, this is how I feel most days— that everyone else has had this amazing
revelation of Jesus but me. That everyone has received the Holy Spirit but me. It feels like I never seem to be around when Jesus shows up, when the power of God is made manifest. I only hear the amazing stories about it after the fact. This is hard to admit because I’ve been trying to follow Jesus for 100 years.
I understand that some of this is a fight for faith. And I’m also aware of how faithful Jesus has been to me through the means of grace and other people. Loving parents who brought me up in the ways of Jesus, the steady presence of the Church in my life, the spiritual disciplines, etc. have all been ways God has met and continues to meet me. I get that this is how it works most of the time and I’m not ungrateful for it. I just believe there’s more. And I want it.
I believe God intended to encourage me with that verse the other day. Which is why I’m sharing it with you. Maybe you need this encouragement too.
If so, take heart. It means our hunger for the presence and purposes of God is growing, which is never not a good thing. I hear the amazing stories of others’ encounters of Jesus or when the Holy Spirit used someone in a mighty way. And I love them all! Bring on the stories! But, I also want my own stories. If you’re like me, then know that the waiting and even the frustration is preparation, meant to increase our hunger and hope.
I remain convinced that Jesus intends us to have our own stories for His glory and our good. But, until then (and YET!) I believe He is the resurrected Lord. And, if you do too, well, then Jesus calls us blessed. Let’s rest in that today.