Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
Where the Holy Spirit Goes We Go
In short, and for just a few examples, we occupy
- at home, work, school, prayer closets, and neighborhoods;
- halls of congress, boardrooms, recreation facilities, and malls;
- hospitals, faculty lounges, mills, industrial plants, and truckstops;
- church pews, choir risers, bake sales, and summer camps;
- rallies, peaceful assemblies, concerts, and family reunions;
- swimming holes, playgrounds, birthday parties, and holiday celebrations…
You get the picture.
Most of us would never be recognized as “occupiers” in a crowd or small group, even alone, walking down some street in Anytown praying for passers-by, airplane passengers and crews overhead, ambulance occupants, first-responders in fire and tow trucks, people out walking their dogs, fellow shoppers.
We occupy in prayer before our students come into the classroom and after they leave; before our patients come into examination or operating rooms and after, before we interact with our customers, clients, and associates in any venue, real or virtual.
And then, guided by the Holy Spirit, we pray for discernment as to how to proceed with action, if at all, in this juncture of interaction with others beloved of their Father in Heaven, no matter where they are on the spectrum of His plan for their life (or perhaps just on the precipice of awareness and choice). For we might just at that moment be called to only intercede for them.
But, perhaps there is, indeed, some seed of truth to plant, water, or harvest.
Perhaps some act of kindness, instruction, encouragement, or warning we can impart.
Perhaps some offering of food, water, shelter, clothing we can give.
Or maybe just a hug in due time, for a lonely heart. (Note: if viruses don’t spread during the shoving, spitting, grabbing, and screaming of profanities within inches of the face that goes on during what some support and call “peaceful protesting,” then they don’t spread with hugs, either).
I think here of the Sylvia Plath poem “Mushrooms,” which I’ve featured elsewhere in similar contexts:
Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.
Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.
Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,
Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We
Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!
We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,
Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:
We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.
Believers might seem nondescript and harmless and maybe even annoying underfoot (if not anathema to some), but, as God, through His Spirt, continually breezes in, out, in-between, below, above, and beyond His people, we keep going and growing, even as, by our cooperating with Him in both big and small ways, He continually saves, delivers, heals, restores, and creates–despite even the most formidable enemy, ever, as in that “thief” who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”
You know who.
And his little minions, too.
Because God in all His manifestations and through all His people, here, there, and everywhere, has “…come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
That’s where we occupy.
Because you, me, and everyone else born of the Spirit and commissioned in each our corner of this hurting world, are sorely needed just now.