Chronicles of the Donovan Clan:
On Wednesday I experienced something with the Lord that I am still processing. It’s a bit unusual but as I lay in bed that night, I felt the same compulsion to share the experience with you. This is exactly how I felt on Wednesday evening when I shared it with the women with whom I was sitting.
Sharing these kinds of experiences is often a scary prospect for me but God has a way of keeping me humble by keeping me awkward. And my obedience and my joy in sharing this story trump my personal comfort and pride. I pray when you read these words you will forever be changed as you experience worship.
Here we go…..
For several weeks I have attended a Wednesday night Bible study in preparation for our church’s annual Women’s Retreat. The study is comprised of the leadership and all the helping hands for the weekend. On Wednesday there were roughly 25-30 women, all sitting in the chairs that are positioned in a horse-shoe shape so we can see one another as well as the worship leader and speaker.
First let me describe a scene from the southwest. I live in a community in California that is considered somewhat high desert. The valley where my home is located is considered inland, a significant distance away from the coast. However, costal breezes make their way to us in the latter half of the day. On a hot summer’s day, as the rising temperatures blow out of the east off the Mojave Dessert toward our town, they mix with cooler costal winds and when the two meet, they really stir up a fight. Out in the middle of the fields you can watch the battle, a swirling, rushing whirlwind whipping frantically toward heaven and then they quickly disappear. See the photo. Now keep that image in your mind.
I love this annual study. Many of my long time sisters in Christ serve and are part of this eight weeks. The evening always begins with worship and our sweet, Ellie, sings and plays the guitar like a professional. She begins to play and we follow her lead and sing.
The music builds, hands raise, eyes are closed. We are in full-out worship of our Lord. The third song this night is very familiar. Most of us know the words by heart. We sing. The harmonies and the sweetness of the unison voices fill the room and that is when it happened.
I opened my eyes as I felt the crescendo of the chorus. And as I looked around the room I had only what I can call as some sort of a vision. I couldn’t see anything with my eyes but in my mind I was watching the praises of God’s people begin to swirl in a counter-clockwise direction around the room over our heads. Like a whirlwind.
The praises swept along faster and faster and then spiraled wildly upward….. to heaven.
The power of the Holy Spirit was so prevalent that I immediately was covered from head-to-toe with what I call Holy goose bumps. And as I stood there, I completely was so overwhelmed by God’s presence that I could no longer even speak. I couldn’t sing. I felt as though I was going to lift off the ground.
As the music slowed, I began having a kind of conversation with God.
“Oh , Wow, Oh Wow. Lord… Lord… Lord… I love you.”
This is what I heard next, “Tell them.” Not what I expected.
What? Tell them (the ladies in the room) what I just saw. Are you kidding? They will think I’m whacked.
Me, “Okay Lord, but You will have to create an opportunity because this is weird.”
Then silence. I was freaked. I slowly sat down as our worship time ended. And then…. God moved.
Normally, after worship, Ellie prays and then the speaker takes the lectern. And I knew if that happened right now the opportunity to “tell them” will pass. And I KNEW I wasn’t going to blurt out to the crowd what I just witnessed. So I waited and then to my utter surprise astonishment, the woman sitting next to me said to the group, “I just love it when we sing and I can hear all your voices.”
Can I just say….. DOUBLE GULP.
God just set the stage for me to "tell them"as this woman was talking about the SINGING. So, I gathered my courage and followed up her sentence and explained what just happened to the room. I don’t remember what I said but I’m sure it sounded weird.
It was awkward but God wanted them to know something. And now God is compelling me to further awkwardness as He compels me to share this story with you.
God wants us to know how valuable our worship is to Him. It is so powerful, so spiritual that He personally sweeps our worship from earth. He carries our praises up unto Himself in a giant whirlwind just like He did on Wednesday as He swept that room with a Holy fury.
He impressed upon me as I sat there that night that there are many of His children who sing to Him in a crowded room and they don’t really understand the significance. They don’t realize just how very close He is to us. But He is near, within our very breath.
I know there are times I have sat in Sunday worship and I was just singing… In a crowd. The significance lost on me.
Well, never again. I will forever be changed as I worship because God is present. And my friends, the sheer euphoria of that experience will carry me on for a lifetime.
I’m sharing this experience today because God impresses me to tell His people that worship is priceless to Him. He draws near and he watches with a smile as broad as the sunrise. So this Sunday, step into your church and worship.
I pray you will also be forever changed by an amazing, loving, and all-powerful God.
Be blessed, Lynn