Hi, Rob here.
I hope and trust that you all had a great Easter. But today you’re back at work, right? Christ has risen but you still need to make a living, see to the kids needs, pay bills, do the grocery shopping…you get the picture. Reality doesn’t go away just because you’ve had an experience of divine transcendence or emotional fulfilment. A low often follows a high. Does it have to be this way? How can we harness the positive experience into a positive life? How can the day after be a great day too?
Think about a great Christmas gift. It can feel like a great gift on the day but it only becomes a great gift when you put it to use. You need to read the book, listen to the CD, make a great coffee with the new machine and so on. It’s the same with experiences of a spiritual nature. They need to be received as a gift to us. They remind us of God’s grace, power and love. They reveal places where we need to repent. They often come with an experience of the Spirit that show us there’s more to life than what we knew before. So it’s a good idea on the day after the great day to go back over it and name what was great. What was the gift that you were given? Was it greater clarity or a fresh appreciation of the Father’s love? Was it a healing of body or spirit? Was it the sheer joy of wholehearted worship? Was it simply being around family or friends who loved you freely and generously? What was the gift? Write it down. Spend time being thankful to God for it.
God is a good and gracious Father so you probably received the gift (that you’ve just named) because you needed it. The greatest days for me are the ones that have filled a deep void in my soul. A day canyoning and white-water rafting was an amazing antidote to a routine that lacked physical adventure. A day of retreat with God by the ocean fed a heart that was filled with self-imposed pressure. So it’s a good idea, after naming the gift, to explore with God why it was such a gift to you. What was the lack that God was filling? Don’t strive here. Simply put the question to God, sit with it for a while and then get on with the day – unless God prompts you to stay with it for a while longer. The Spirit will bring things to mind. Let the thoughts percolate and write them down when you get a chance. This exercise is key to receiving a long-lasting gift and not just a great experience. I now enjoy more adventure and a heart mostly free from self-imposed pressure as a result of going deeper into these experiences. You can enjoy more freedom too.
Once you know the gift and named the void then you can come to God’s throne and ask him boldly to fill that void with his life. You may have discovered that you need more worship in your life. Now you can go on a journey of exploration discovering what forms, styles and rhythms of worship work for your heart, knowing that’s what God wants for you. It’s the same if you experienced healing. Now you can ask God how to preserve and strengthen that healed place, knowing that he will help you. God wants us to experience his gifts but to also know why he has given them. He doesn’t want us wandering through life with empty hearts and minds. He wants to fill us with himself but he will take us into our emptiness if it makes us seek him. He will give is tastes of his life in us hoping to stir us into wanting more of his life. Hunger and thirst for God is a very good thing remember!
So thank God for your good and great days. Ask him why he wanted to give you that particular gift. Invite him into a journey of filling your emptiness with his presence. Your heart will thank you for it.
Christ is risen. Blessings.