What do you think an encounter with the Holy Spirit looks like? Do you expect it to be big and grandiose and somehow blaringly obvious?
Going through the Experiencing God study again with our church this past fall was such a blessing. Yet again, it reshaped some of my thinking about God and my interactions with Him. There have been many moments in my life over the years where I wondered if God was really there. Many moments where I questioned if God was speaking to me or not. Times when I wondered if I was even capable of hearing from God. In the Experiencing God study one day, a few things in regards to this stuck out to me:
“Understanding spiritual truth does not lead you TO an encounter with God; it IS the encounter with God.”
“. . . a person cannot understand spiritual truth unless the Spirit of God reveals it.”
“You cannot understand God’s purposes and ways unless the Spirit of God teaches you.”
I realized that God had been working in my life, that He had been speaking to me. I could not have grown spiritually or understood anything spiritually without Him doing it in me. Each and every one of the times He has spoken Truth to me through His Word or in prayer or during my quiet time, THAT was an encounter with the Holy Spirit. He has been there in every moment when spiritual Truth was revealed, even in the moments when it sometimes felt like I was falling apart inside or I wondered if He was really there. And every single one of those moments was an encounter with Him.
Sometimes we expect that an encounter with God must be some burning bush type of experience when really we’re encountering Him every time the Spirit reveals spiritual Truth to us, or helps us through a situation, or brings His Word to our minds when we need it. Anytime we see God’s Word anew or afresh, that’s the Holy Spirit working in us. That’s an encounter with Him.
We also tend to think of “big miracles” being the only way God works. We forget that it’s often in that soft whisper or holy nudge to call a particular person at that particular moment or to pray for them, that that is God working. The prompting to speak Truth over someone or share with them a piece of your story. The gentle push to come away with Him and enter into His Presence for a while. He’s in that whisper of hope that slips past the darkness that tries to hide it.
Yes, He is most definitely behind the “big” miracles or God sightings that we see. But He is also in the “small” everyday encounters where He reveals pieces of Himself to us and helps us know Truth in a way we didn’t before. He’s so often in the little things that we don’t take the time to see, the things we don’t judge to be worthy to take notice of. Stop and take a minute. Ask yourself where you have seen Him at at work like this in your life or around you lately. Don’t dismiss the “little” things. Remember that those are sweet, precious encounters with the God who loves you so much. He’s there in the big moments and the little ones. You’re never alone. And the next time you feel that nudge from Him to call someone or send them a message of encouragement? Don’t hesitate to do it. God’s got plans to use it.