Shaken and stirred
“Shaken, not stirred,” that’s how Bond – James Bond – likes his vodka martini. The understanding is that stirring diminishes the flavour of the drink. There are pros and cons, but in the end it’s a matter of personal preference.
Not so with the Holy Spirit! God allows us to be shaken and stirred by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit teaches us to truly know and follow God.There are many wonderful names for the Holy Spirit. Advocate, helper, comforter, counsellor, guide, intercessor, teacher – the Holy Spirit is all of these and more. From the Holy Spirit we are given gifts and the ability to produce fruits – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control [Galatians 5.22].
Yet I know the Holy Spirit as the Presence that disturbs, a presence that permeated deeply into every area of my life, including the deepest, darkest areas of my vulnerability. That Presence took me to an inner room that had been locked away in the deepest recesses of my heart; a dark, dank, foreboding room I never wanted to visit again. As I dug deeply, entering into my fears, old long forgotten wounds were opened and laid bare in a process that was difficult and painful. I was taken to places I did not want to go, to face demons I did not want to see, even brought to tears in touching on past issues of the heart. My faith was sorely tested. A light was shone on my sins. The Presence pulled open the dark curtains, threw open the windows and let the fresh clean air of healing rush in. All had to be revealed. All had to be brought to light.
Delving into my vulnerability was just a part of the process. The Presence that disturbs had more work to do! St. Paul wrote: So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. [2 Corinthians 5:17]
Layer upon layer of the old me was stripped away, bringing to life a new creation. I had to become who I truly am, to become real before God, to be authentic, more open to the experiences of others, more connected to the souls of others. Brick by brick the Presence that disturbs built a spiritual house where the old room used to be – a dwelling place for God to live.
I was shaken and stirred so that the Spirit could move more powerfully in my life, that the gifts of the Spirit would not be dormant in me. God gifted me with tools and entrusted me with a key task in the project. My ability determines my purpose … God’s purpose for me. God gave me a job to do and equipped me to do it. It is not every day that you find someone who will give you a second chance – much less someone who will give you a second chance every day. In God I found both.
The most significant transformation of my life came as a result of time spent exploring my vulnerability. It was not easy; it required I go the extra kilometre; it took courage and conviction as I took up my cross and followed on the path set for me. Now even though I do not know what awaits me around the next bend, or over the crest of the next hill -– or even a mountain I may have to climb – I know the formidable team of companions God assigned me, who are travelling with me and I do know where the path leads and who it is I follow. I feel so close to God, so loved by God, so surrendered to God, so open to the workings of the Holy Spirit. “For God has… given us a spirit … of power, love and self-discipline.” [2 Timothy 1:7]
I’m reminded of the scene in ‘Chariots of Fire’ where Eric Liddell says: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but I also believe He made me fast, and when I run I feel His pleasure.” This is how I feel Lord – you made me for a purpose and through your Holy Spirit you gifted me. When I use those gifts in your service I feel your pleasure.”
You too are gifted by the Holy Spirit and you are responsible for the gifts that have been entrusted to you. You are chosen to be the living witness of a generous, creative God and to testify to eternal life. Has God allowed you to be shaken and stirred by the Presence that disturbs?