Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth… (John 16:13, NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… (Galatians 5:22-23)
As it becomes increasingly important to really listen–both literally and figuratively–to the promptings of the Holy Spirit amid the both literal and figurative cacophony of evil warring against not only good sense but also spiritual clarity, these days, I offer this new series on “What He (the Holy Spirit) Said.”
In the spirit and Spirit of how God gives guidance and wisdom to individual believers whenever we ask Him, and because of the importance placed on sharing the answers, in their various literal and figurative applications in order to “comfort (instruct, inspire, etc.) wherewith we’ve been comforted,” this series will be stories from my life and observations on themes and revelations common to us all yet easily customized, I pray, for each.
I hope readers will comment from their own lives as well, to share the wealth, so to speak, as well as to encourage, inspire, uplift, and guide. Here is the first installment.
BENEATH WHO FALLS
Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short That it cannot save… (Isaiah 59:1, NASB)
Perhaps you can relate to this.
You think you are on the right path, making right choices, praying right prayers, obedient, growing in the faith, then crash–and maybe burn, too.
The journey “from glory to glory” hits a major speed bump if not careens right over the edge of some error you didn’t see or were denying until just now.
Maybe you suddenly perceive some blind spot.
Maybe the “iron sharpening iron” nature of a trusted friend or mentor scrapes painfully at some rough edge of mind or spirit.
Yikes! Oops! Whoa!
And then the hardest part of yet another lesson in the “upright walk” begins: how to deal with not only the “stern moral editor” of your own mind that shows up immediately to throw shame and blame but also the Ancient Accuser who immediately starts in on, “Ha! Showed ya you couldn’t do it!” or, “What makes you think God loves you with all your flaws?!” (scent of sulfur wafting near) and your own head echoes with “Loser,” or worse, “Failure.”
Down looks like an abyss where condemnation lives. And you feel as if you are falling.
When you come up for air, you remember you can pray.
God (immediately or eventually) answers, as it so happens just today (in my case), with something like this reminder: Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short That it cannot save…(Isaiah 59:1, NASB).
In other words (at least in my mind): God stops the fall before the destruction.
Other encouraging verses may follow reminding you that you are not–in any challenge or failure–abandoned by God:
The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands (Psalm 138:8).
And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them Verses like Isaiah 42:16)
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: (Verses like Philippians 1:6)
May I also encourage you (and in so doing, myself) that you will be back to that eventual peace that passes understanding that comes along with His answer to your prayer.
All of us, after all, are works in progress seeing, at best, through a darkly glass…
Oh! Almost forgot! My prayer today concerned a relationship. When I (finally) remembered to pray for perspective and guidance, I was reminded of a few salient points. And it’s not as if I hadn’t “heard” them before, it’s just that new days sometimes bring new challenges viz the same old issues, thus, fresh need for prayer.
My specific answers were a few nuggets embedded in the verses of Proverbs chapter 21 that today spoke to deeper layers of nuance and context.
Perhaps in those verses you, too, might find some wisdom, encouragement, confirmation and/or comfort. Or in any of the other verses cited above.
Come to think of it, and allow me to encourage you further, there’s a whole book full of the same–and much more, and not just any old “help” book but one “widely considered to be the most influential and best-selling book of all time.”
Check it out.
Today would be good.