There are certain points in the faith journey that resonate with those who embark on it.

Reading about the life of Oswald Chambers tonight I came across this gem:

While in a church meeting as a college student he stood and said, “Either Christianity is a downright fraud, or I have not got hold of the right end of the stick.” And then and there he claimed the gift of the Holy Spirit he had been praying for , “in dogged commitment to Luke 11:13. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” He had asked in faith and came to realize finally that he had already received it. He had at last “got hold of the right end of the stick.” His journey from bold asking to confident assurance was about 4 years, slogging through utter despair in the process.

I remember a morning when I awoke confronted with the depth of my own depravity and despair and spoke similar words to myself alone, “Either there is not a God, or I don’t really know God.” That was a rude awakening. I wish I could say my journey to confident assurance of God’s presence, goodness, and sovereignty was only 4 years. It was actually more like 9 years, in 1992, and was then again fiercely contested 5 years later, in 1997, when finally I was able to confidently stand in the faith I had been given in Christ.

I can remember a day I pleaded with God to give me assurance of the Holy Spirit and the power to move in Him…. It was while standing outside a locked door waiting to be let into a building where a group of women met weekly. There had been conflict and hurt feelings among some in the group, not involving me, but about which I deeply sought God’s wisdom to address… I stood there crying and singing with breaking voice through choking tears as I waited,

“Open my eyes that I may see
glimpses of truth thou hast for me.
Place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Open my ears that I may hear
voices of truth thou sendest clear,
and while the wave notes fall on my ear,
ev’rything false will disappear.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my ears, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Open my mouth and let me bear
gladly the warm truth ev’rywhere.
Open my heart and let me prepare
love with thy children thus to share.

Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my mouth, illumine me,
Spirit divine!”

That was late in 1996. His gift was not immediately obvious, but without it I would not have survived what would follow a year later. And it was around the issue of discernment that I was fiercely tested then . And that discernment had been birthed in the baptism of fire, even as I had prayed “and while the wave notes fall on my ear, ev’rything false will disappear.”

I am grateful that, slow and spiritually delayed as I was, I did learn to hear and respond to the convicting voice of the Spirit and eventually came to know and trust His Presence and gifts through trial after trial. And now I enjoy His comfort, consolation, and correction, as needed, every day!

Dr. Jim Luther always said there were two prayers God would always answer:  those for salvation and those for wisdom.  It seems that when one asks for either of those, the Holy Spirit’s coming delivers both!