“We do not lead people to an encounter with the Holy Spirit. We lead them away from the chaos of this world so they can encounter the Holy Spirit freely.”
– Gabriel Martinez
At various points during the last few years of my life, the Holy Spirit has spoken to me very distinctly and powerfully. My encounters with Him have changed me, and I find myself longing to go back to the worship service or quiet chapel or whatever the location and atmosphere were, to find Him again and have Him touch me. But at the Holy Spirit Encounter Retreat Abante went to the last weekend of August, I realized that the Spirit of God is not confined to where and how I left Him.
One of the times Pastor Roger Daniel spoke to our Abante team, he compared Moses’ and Elijah’s encounters with God. At a point in his life, each of these famous men of God met God on Mount Horeb. The Most High revealed Himself to Moses with incredible power: the mountain shook and was covered in billowing smoke. But for Elijah, “the LORD was not in the wind . . . the LORD was not in the earthquake . . . the LORD was not in the fire” (1 Kings 19:11-12).
At the Holy Spirit retreat, a specific theme kept resonating in my heart: God is not limited by what He has done before, and the way He works in me may be different from the way he works in you. But it’s the same Spirit.
The Holy Spirit may move with power and strong emotion. Like in Meredith Andrews’s song Spirit of the Living God: “When You move, You move us to tears/ When You fall, we fall on our knees.”
But more likely He’ll speak into our hearts when we still ourselves. “I’ve heard a tender whisper of love in the dead of night,” as Chris Tomlin sings in Good, Good Father.
The Spirit of God may inspire you to shout for joy, kneel before Him, or weep and weep and weep aloud. Or perhaps He’d rather you slip your arm around someone, offer tissues for her nose (dribbley from weeping) and whisper a prayer in her ear. And He might just ask you to offer something as ordinary as water to a brother struggling for lack of it.
The thing is, if we’re expecting the Holy Spirit to move in a certain way and that way only, He may just speak in “a still, small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). And we’ll miss it.