Yesterday morning started out like any other Sunday morning.
I crawled out of my warm bed, secretly wishing it was Saturday so I could sleep in. I headed upstairs to the three bedrooms of my children, gently nudging each one out of their sweet slumber, while encouraging them to get up and get ready for church.
Remarkably we arrived on time, and my family and I walked into the sanctuary, sitting down in the same pew that we sit in every Sunday. I opened the bulletin and glanced at the title of the sermon, then settled in for worship, expecting it to be wonderful and renergizing, but not much different than any other Sunday…..but God had something out of the ordinary planned.
After we sang a few powerful praise songs and prepared our hearts for worship, the preacher announced that he would not be giving the sermon listed in the bulletin, because God had led his heart in a different direction. Over the past week, he had heard God whispering to him that there was someone in the congregation that was stressed, and needed a fresh reminder that God had it all under control.
My attention immediately peaked, as was the attention of many I’m sure, since stress is a subject that affects every single person, regardless of age or gender. But I knew in my heart – that I had been stressed. Stressed over many difficult situations that are not going away, always lurking in the shadows of my mind, even when I try to push thoughts of them aside. Stressed so much so, that it had begun affecting my joy, my perspective, my hope, and even my desire to do things God has called me to do.
The pastor asked us to bow our heads and pray with him before he shared his message. He proceeded to pray a very moving prayer, and then he said a profound statement that I will never forget, because in that instant, God did something that I will never forget.
In the midst of his prayer, the pastor prayed that the Holy Spirit would be present, and “be like the wind, blowing away all of the emotions and hurts that are keeping us from trusting Him.”
In that exact moment, as his words hung in the air, swirling through my mind and digging into the depths of my stressed out soul, a breeze of wind burst across my face, causing my hair to blow.
It was just a gentle breeze, brushing my skin ever so lightly, but strong enough that it made me shudder. It was as if God’s spirit was right beside me, close enough to touch, exhaling Holy Breath that pricked my physical and spiritual senses, causing holy chill bumps to pop out all over my body.
I have no idea where that burst of air came from – maybe the AC vent in the floor had an extra boost of energy as it turned on, or maybe someone briskly walked by that I didn’t see because my eyes were closed in prayer.
Or maybe…. which is what I choose to believe….. the Holy Spirit breathed a fresh breath of holy wind onto my face, as tears were forming behind my eye lids, reminding me that God was near and that He longed for me to lay those worries down, and allow His power to blow them away. Maybe not literally away, but far enough out of mind that my heart would trust Him to handle them.
It was an amazing sermon, and I nearly got a hand cramp from trying to write down every word that God was pouring into my heart through the words of my pastor. But amidst my frantic writing, I couldn’t help but smile, knowing that God gave me an extra special little gift.
It was undeserved, and unexpected, but sometimes those are the most precious gifts that we can ever receive. So although I sat in a sanctuary filled with hundreds of people, God gave me the gift of a private encounter with Him. A powerful encounter that no one else heard and no one else saw. An encounter that promised peace and hope through the touch of His breath.
When the wind blows against your face today, don’t discount it. Don’t ignore it. Don’t write it off as just being an ordinary occurrence. Instead, close your eyes, and consider John 3:8 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.
Wind is invisible, and has no shape or form that our human eyes can make out. We do not know where it began, or where it is headed, because it is an unseen, mysterious force. We believe in it, although we cannot see it – because we can feel it.
In the same way, the Holy Spirit living within us is invisible, but if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, He is always there. When we choose to pay attention to His presence, we will feel It.
What an amazing day we might have if we consider that each time the wind brushes against our face, that it is the breath of God, blowing in our direction, whisking away our troubles, as we walk closely with Him during the good and bad seasons of life.
Friend, will you let the wind speak to you today? Will you open your mind to receive His Spirit as the breath of God, whispering to you with a soft brush on your skin, and reminding you that “I am with you.”
I believe God has something out of the ordinary planned for you today. Will you notice?