Our God promises over and over and over: His presence will ever be among us. He’s Jehovah Shammah—the God who is there, and He’s always sought out up-close encounters with His people. From Eden adventures beside the first two of us, to settling down thick in Moses’ tent of meeting, to wrapping divinity in real flesh, real bones and handing over Jesus—it’s no surprise that He came even closer still. In Jesus’ preparation for his grand exit, he hinted at the Holy Spirit’s imminent entrance. To the twelve who were daily covered in his dust, he said: Slow down before you sell out to the Great Commission. Once I’m Home, you’ll be made capable and complete. Just trust Me on this one—He who’s coming will make you better off than I. But the audience didn’t buy it, couldn’t believe there’s something better than life with right-there Jesus.
But what came was a Somebody—the third thread to braid together the Trinity. “The Father has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ (Galatians 4:6) He’s what lets our hearts mesh with our Maker’s. He’s our forever-advocate, proving the world’s wrong about all things sin and righteousness and judgment, repeating the truest reminders of the Lord’s age-old promises so we’d just get it right. It’s the Spirit that protects, equips, empowers, pierces with conviction. He invites into salvation, tugs heartstrings to u-turn or free fall or just say “yes”. The Spirit’s not of fear or anxiety or timidity or confusion, but of power and clarity and bravery and direction. (2 Timothy 1:7) He’s what searches, studies, savors the depths of God. Scripture swears that since the get-go, the Holy Spirit’s work was to finish and sustain the promises of the Lord. “Deposited as a guarantee of what’s to come” (2 Corinthians 5:5), it’s the Spirit that points towards Forever, that goes with me in all the directions. The Spirit’s also the Life-ingredient–He’s the very thing that turns straight dust into Life. His breath makes somethings out of nothing—and swears to someday do so again, to breathe resurrection life to earth dust as we enter eternity. The Holy Spirit takes orphans and binds them to the holy lineage, binds them to the Trinity braid. He who once stood beside now stays inside. It’s the Holy Spirit that lets God live not simply among us but within us, setting God closer to His beloved than ever before. And the best part about this Holy Spirit? Where He is, there is sweet sweet freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17) And the Spirit says He’s not going anywhere.
I’m quick to forget that I live in the era the Israelites and Jesus’ disciples dreamed of–the era of the Holy Spirit deposit. To walk physically in-step with a tangible Spirit cloud that rises and settles in a patterned come-and-go seems simple and preferred. I’d love to just see Him, and move where and when He says to move–and no one would call me crazy because they heard Him say it too! But Jesus meant when He said I’m better off with the Holy Spirit. I’m thankful I’m not Moses—not held to a high and heavy regard to be the only Spirit-bearer in a whole tribe, not measuring and remeasuring my righteousness to make sure I still get to maintain Him. Not studying the Spirit’s interactions at a distance, as He touches down separate from my own soul. Instead, I received Him invisible and almighty into my very being. The cross and the new covenant make me a ragged tent of meeting who bears residency of the eternal.
The Holy Spirit’s entrance into my depths paled compared to His Pentecostal debut. No wild heavenward wind, no fire poured out from heaven, no perplexing tongue-speaking to a Jewish audience from all over. In fact, there was no noticeable moment of divine invasion. I spent a whole lot of years praying like my God’s way up There, or like I can hide from him or mask particular Layne pieces from him. Unaware of, unfazed by, apathetic towards my Holy Spirit deposit left me big time missing out. All this while, the Father’s been raising my spirit to meet up with His. I cried out “Abba, Father!” and He just fixed my eyes on my insides. I’m captivated, caught in His wake. Cheers to the Holy Spirit. Thanks for settling thick inside my nothing special. As I long for the Israelites’ “well done, good and faithful-enough” en route to their Promised Land, I acknowledge my all-day, always access to Jehovah Shammah—the God who is there. The full magnitude of the godhead calls my spaces sacred enough. Today, the Holy Spirit deposit dwells permanently and universally. He chooses frayed hearts of plain flesh instead of their fancy tabernacle tent. And where the Spirit is, there’s freedom for believers to unveil and unwind–that’s where Grace screams loudest.
So I sit daily at the feet of my Jesus, talking life with the Father, to activate and encounter the Spirit that’s divine and alive and racing through my veins. It’s in this sacred space that the Father recreates. Polishes, pretties up, edits and erases. The Spirit sanctifies—recreates little me to look more and more like Himself, one degree of glory after another. He adds touches of God-glory to nothing-special, that I’d leave every holy encounter looking radically different than the way I walked in.
To dare to spend life dancing to the Holy Spirit’s lead is brave and unpredictable but guarantees surprises around every corner. He takes locked-away old ways and sheds so much Light you can’t quit looking, and helps you rip them to shreds right then and there. He takes a mind-made-up stubborn Layne and forces a u-turn change in direction, back to the very first thing that caught my eye. He can take away something that’s good and God-glorifying because He knows better, even when you want it to just stay. He’ll tune your heart to hear Him, see Him, recognize Him. He’ll double the drive time on 2-hour solo car rides because He chose your tent of meeting today and everyday. He’ll tell you to bare your heart from a platform that’s public domain–and won’t budge until you say I’m in. He takes your four months of studying His own mystery and still leaves you hungry for forever more–He’s got plenty more layers to reveal. Walking in step with the Spirit’s risky—He tends to beckon us beyond what’s known or what’s comfortable or sometimes, to what’s not on our hopeful-for list. He knows ships don’t belong safe or tied tight at harbor.
Holy Spirit, You’re here whether I welcome you or not, but today I welcome you. Show up in the wind and in surprise run-ins and in the mailbox. Show up in that wildflower-strewn field I stop to climb trees and backflip and press pause mid-run. On this website, in my passenger seat, at every coffee table and park bench and red light I encounter today. You’re welcome here.
Four months into this fascination study, Lord—don’t let me stop seeking! Let me become more aware of Your presence within me, thanks to the Holy Spirit deposit. Keep me awed by the very thing that sets me apart, at its New Testament permanency. Love You, J!