Joel and I were talking about our journey over the past 58 months and reflecting on our experiences. \ It has been nearly 5 years since Holy Spirit shook up our world, since our veer we took to the right with Joel's overnight miracle. A veer is a change in course or direction and we definitely have experienced that. Joel told me that while in this season of revelation he has asked God, "Why did this come to us so late in life?" Yes, why now Lord?
Speaker and teacher Graham Cooke has stated that why questions are never answered here on earth, that why questions are asked from a victim stance. He considers them invalid. They make us invalids.......and often victims of our circumstances. Something to think about. Joel has often said to me that we have no answers for the "whys", so maybe we we would be better off asking God, "What does this mean? What do we do now?"
Looking back we know we began this journey with Holy Spirit 44 years ago when we went with persistent friends to their church in Duluth Minnesota. We would go to Sunday morning services at our Lutheran church and with friends Sunday night to their Assembly of God congregation, The Tabernacle. I really enjoyed going there and felt right at home, while Joel found it a bit uncomfortable......not knowing what to expect. Joel told me recently that we kept going because I wanted to. I did not know that, but I knew I had been searching for a deeper relationship with God.
At the Tabernacle I recall their vast auditorium with wooden seats and a full orchestra for worship. It was amazing to sing along with the piano and orchestra. I also hold close two special God experiences while we were there. One was an encounter with Jesus or an angel. I cannot tell you who, but I can tell you it happened. As I went up front to kneel at the altar in prayer, I had my hands folded and eyes closed. I felt someone cover my hands with their warm ones, then my hands were taken apart and lifted up in the air. I remember smiling and opening my eyes to see who was cradling my hands, and was completely surprised to find I was all alone at the altar. There was no one in the natural world holding my hands, "only" that special Someone in the spirit world.
At that time in my life I was struggling with some childhood issues. I was experiencing anxiety when Joel left home for work, whether day or night. I struggled with fear and a deep sadness that a therapist was able to pinpoint as a grieving over my father's death. I was 7 when he died, and my sister and mom were so worried about how distraught I was that we pretended my dad was away on a trip. We pretended he would be home soon.....that pretending kept me in a place of grief that was showing up in my daily life when my hubby left for his own "trip" to work each day. Once we were able to connect the grief in my 20's with my loss at age 7, the doors to that healing opened. God knew I was in need of His touch on my life and it came literally at the altar one Sunday night. I was hungry for something more during that season of growth in 1972 and God provided that.
Going to The Tabernacle also opened a door that took me 40 years to walk through. As I have said before, this church is where I first heard the gift of speaking in tongues. Several women went into a prayer room and I went along with them. I sat on a chair and watched them all get down on their knees and pray....first quietly in English and then in their prayer languages. While sitting there listening, I felt such a deep sense of peace come over me ~ which I know now was the presence of God. Leaving the church that night, I began a quest for myself and spent a few weeks trying to receive this gift before coming to the conclusion that it must not be for me. I was unable to seek more understanding with our friends, because Joel was assigned to Clark Air Base, so we left Duluth and headed across the ocean to The Philippines.
While living in The Philippines I also became involved with an Interdenominational prayer group of women who's husbands were in the military. We prayed, sang, and while there I experienced my first healing. I had been dealing with boils and had a large one under my arm. The first time they lanced the boil and stuffed it with gauze Joel could hear me yell from down the hall. I had to go back and have it drained again and repacked and two women prayed for me before I left the group. While the Dr. worked I never felt a thing. The nurse who was holding my arm tightly over my head kept asking me if I could feel what they were doing......they had expected some reactions to the intense pain that comes with such a procedure. I said no. They were confused, but I told them..."I was prayed for and God took away the pain". He certainly did!
Even with two of my friends in the Philippines having the gift of tongues, and even with the women's group I was part of sharing Holy Spirit, and even with my healing experience, I did not walk through the door into my own encounters with Holy Spirit for so many years. How grateful I am for His patience!
It was 40 years later that I did receive the gift of a prayer language. It was 40 years later that I encountered Holy Spirit. I find irony in the 40 year marker........seems like that is an important number in Bible history.
It was while looking back at all this that Joel and I pondered if God was patient and persistent with us, or if it was His timing. Maybe a little of both. When the "why" questions rise to the surface we try to leave them at the feet of Jesus, so we are doing that in regards to our own long journey through the wilderness. We are receiving all that God has for us now in our adventures with Papa, Jesus and Holy. Grateful, so grateful for where He has led us the last 44 years and where He is leading us now.