Some of us have a desire to experience strong spiritual reality. It is our common fascination to experience God in any way just like when we have a session to experience the Holy Spirit during the Living Life Bible study class. Nevertheless, some of us have a yearning to experience something more miraculous like the story of the Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. I was not an exception in that regard.
When we have such a desire, we expect that such an ‘out of this world’ experience will totally transform us. Amazing and extraordinary experiences of God or receiving the gift of tongues will change the person into a new being who is filled with the Holy Spirit at all times, we think. We also expect that once we have that we will not have the emotional ups & downs of our faith, won’t fall asleep during prayer, and maybe exhibit a great power in ministry.
I read that D.L. Moody and C.H. Spurgeon, who achieved great things in ministry work, both had life-changing experiences of the Holy Spirit and became powerful ministers. Since I read that, for a long time, I had desired to have such an experience. If ‘The night of Fire’ which Pascal experienced can be experienced, what an awesome change it will cause in me! I thought with excitement. However, that is not the case. No matter how unusual the experience it may be it is still an experience. Just like many other things, the memory fades with time and the fervent zeal does not last very long.
There are stories in the bible of the people who had such intense experiences but still forget God easily. We can find the record of Pascal who experienced the ‘Fire’ and D.L. Moody still struggled with mundane prayer life after such dazzling spiritual experiences. It is the fact that the experience alone cannot change us in our core.
This could be because of God’s character and His method of love for us. God values our character and does not want to force us to be changed by outward means. He wants to come to us quietly and gently with respect. He always enjoys being with us.
Because of that, the important part is the practice of faith. We should be changed through walking with God every day and practicing being sensitive toward God’s presence. In that regard, we are already experiencing God daily albeit in small doses. Through answered prayers, listening to worship songs, over the sermon, through small guidance in daily life and etc. Gaining more confidence in God while holding onto these experiences is the life of faith.
C.S. Lewis said, ‘It takes great effort to see the one whom we cannot see.’ Instead of longing for a metaphysical experience which will transform us in a second, or hanging on to God seeking to recover the first love, we should be transformed daily through the steady walk of faith.