If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.
— John 14:15-17, New Living Translation
This is a story about the Holy Spirit leading me to where GOD wants me to be.
First, some background. Every year, my church ICA has an event called the 24-hour Worship where the sanctuary will be opened for 24 hour non-stop as a place of worship. The 24 hour period is divided into 12 timeslots where in each timeslot there will be a worship team leading worship for 1 hour and 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute break. There is no preaching and nothing else during this 24 hour period, just worship and the reading of Psalms (which is, actually worship songs too during ancient times, and as you know some of them have really been translated into actual songs today, like widely known Psalm 23).
For this year, the event was to be held from Friday, Feb 3th 7:00 p.m until the next day at 7:00 p.m. I was planning to join this event from the first time the date was announced, as in 2011, this event was one of the moments where I can feel God’s presence so clearly in my life like never before, so yeah, you can say that I was really anxious to join this one. Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen circumstances and hard times at work, my body broke down with illness and I had a high fever just three days before the event.
I prayed to GOD for Him to heal me so that I can join the 24-hour worship and had faith that as I desired to get close to Him and know Him more, He would hear my prayer. The illness continued though, and my body temperature went up and down rapidly during the first two days, from a high fever at one moment to a chilling cold the next.
When Friday came, the illness had subsided somewhat, but I was not yet fully recovered, so I pondered whether to go to the worship or not, Because I thought I still need some time to heal and I was feeling a bit tired and weak at that moment, I finally decided to just take a rest first for the night and join it from Saturday afternoon instead…
Well, that was the original plan anyway.
What really happened next was.. I couldn’t sleep. It was something past 9 p.m at that time and I’m just twisting and turning around in my bed, unable to sleep. Might be because it’s not yet my sleeping time (I usually sleep past 11 p.m) or might be because my body and mind unconsciously knew I should have been somewhere else (and I happen to know where that was).
Some people might call me foolish for this (or maybe it’s just GOD’s way of calling me in) but yes, I opened Facebook and Twitter because I couldn’t sleep, as per my usual habits. And as expected, there were so many posts from friends and colleagues who were in ICA at that moment saying how awesome the worship was and how GOD’s presence was totally there.
At that point, I couldn’t hold myself back anymore. I felt that the Spirit inside me was burning hot with the desire to join the worship, urging me to move, knowing that the LORD was there in that very moment. The urge was so strong, that I felt my illness was completely gone and that a new strength was there inside me. I took a glance at the clock and it was almost 11 p.m. But I didn’t care anymore and I just decided to follow the Spirit’s urging, leaping to my car at once and driving to ICA, feeling totally energized and really looking forward to worshipping the LORD.
Long story (a bit) short(-er), by GOD’s grace I was able to join the worship from 11.30 p.m until 7.30 a.m. Then after going home for a little rest, I was able to return and rejoin the worship from 4.30 p.m until the end at 7 p.m. So all in all I managed to clock 10.5 hours this year. Less than what I managed last year, but it felt infinitely more satisfying, as initially I never thought I would have been able to join the worship for this long, due to my illness, but GOD gave me the strength to do so, and I’m totally happy about it.
The lesson I took from this experience was OBEDIENCE. When the Spirit tells you to go, then go. When He tells you to run, then run. Never hesitate and never look back. Just follow where He leads you. And obedience doesn’t start when the Spirit talks to you. You have to be obedientBEFORE the Spirit can talk to you. Without obedience, you will never be sensitive enough to hear His urgings.
This is the first time I felt the Spirit urging me so strongly this year, and I believe that this happened because of my obedience in reading GOD’s Word and connecting to Him daily. I have been pushing and disciplining myself to read the Bible every day with a “One Year Bible Reading Plan” and it has helped me a lot to know the LORD more and be sensitive upon His words.
My suggestion for you is to find a way to connect with the LORD daily. It can be through prayer, music, reading the Bible, whatever works for you. Each person has their own way, their own “love language” with GOD. If you haven’t found yours, I urge you to ask Him right now to let you find Him in your own way, and then ask Him that you will have the obedience to always follow Him and do what He wants of you. I pray that as you know the LORD more and interact with Him daily, you will be more open and sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s work in your life.