Ah, the gifts of the Spirit. You know what I’m talking about; wisdom, faith, healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation of speaking in tongues, etc. Everyone’s supposed to have them: lying dormant in those yet to cross the line of faith; itching to bubble to the surface if not already on full, glorious display in those who have.
I think I’ve finally figured out mine . . .
. . . Mine is being in awe of those who have spiritual gifts.
It truly floors me when I’m able to connect with a song from Third Day, MercyMe or Casting Crowns (and their brilliant lyricist, Mark Hall) or a book by Francis Chan or C.S. Lewis. To be moved by inspirational speakers like James McDonald (Walk in the Word) or Mark Gungor (Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage). Those guys have got it. To me, they are very obviously being led by the Holy Spirit. And I think . . .
What’s wrong with me?
Why aren’t I able to inspire like that? Why aren’t I able to discern life around me through the lens of spiritual wisdom? Why can’t I speak in tongues? (Well, if you listen to me get into playing fits with the kids you might think otherwise, but I digress.) Maybe I’m not doing it right. Maybe I don’t have the Holy Spirit in me. Maybe God isn’t listening and I am just praying to the empty air around me.
Yeah, I thought so. I think we’ve all been there. If we’re totally honest with ourselves, I think we continue to visit that particular exit on the road to spiritual fulfillment more often than we’re comfortable with. Furthermore, I think that’s one of the biggest ongoing problems with those seeking answers, those new to Christian faith, and pretty much anyone else, including many who’d call themselves “mature” Christians.
Not a lack of Spiritual Gifts but an overabundance of Spiritual Drift.
Once you cross the line of faith you expect to be different. Choirs should sing, beams of light should shoot out of the sky and hosts of heavenly angels should alight all around you giving high fives and doing end-zone style victory dances.
Doesn’t happen does it? (But, in their defense, maybe my angels were off that day.)
How about when you pray? Don’t you expect to be heard? Don’t you expect to be answered—your way? You expect your problem to be solved, your worry to abate, your friend or relative to be miraculously healed.
Doesn’t always happen does it? That addiction remains a maddening temptation. That problem is still nagging. That friend or relative still dies.
And what about spiritual gifts? Gifts of the Spirit are a big thing at our church. We’re constantly told that, know it or not, we all have them. That if we ask, we will be shown. Or if not, we can always take one of the ready-made tests available—both in church and on-line—to be able to figure out what our particular gift is.
I don’t know about you, but every time I take that test I get a different gift. And it’s never one of the really cool ones like speaking in tongues. That would be great!
Doubt creeps in.
I must not be doing it right.
Maybe I’m not really “saved” after all.
Maybe, because I’m still such a screw-up that God really doesn’t want me on the home team; even as a bench-warmer.
Or worse, maybe God doesn’t care.
I will say this; atheists are right on one account. We, who believe in a God, have a lot riding on faith. We put our hope out into the ethereal nothingness in promise that it sticks to something, to Someone. The hope is that He is indeed there, and He is faithful to answer. The faith is in the confidence that, if He says “no” or “wait” there is more, or better, or at least understanding, awaiting us at the end of whatever trial we’re currently going through. The doubt is in being human: An incurable, terminal condition that we’re all born with.
And honestly, I don’t have all the answers either. I’m still waiting for some of my answers just as you are. I’ve been told “no” on a few, just as I’m sure you have. But I rest in my faith. I rely in my hope. And, I get mad in my occasional doubt. Just as I’m sure you have. I don’t think I’m too unusual in my spiritual journey. But I do think that any believer who says they’ve figured it all out, all their prayers have been answered, and their lives have been nothing but blue skies and rainbows is probably lying; to themselves and to others.
Or they’re just weird.
Especially if they’re speaking in tongues.