This content reblogged from Gateway Devotions Day 16
“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”
John 16:7 (NIV)
In 2018, my family of five moved from Louisiana to Texas. It was a huge adjustment. We loved living in Louisiana! We were near family, we had a large community of lifelong friends, and I had been serving in full-time ministry there for 18 years. It was home.
A few months in to our new life in Texas, after the initial excitement of our move had started to fade, I began to grieve the life I’d left behind. I felt a constant cloud over my head. I’d go about my day doing the usual mom things—getting the kids ready for school, dropping them off at carpool line—but countless mornings, I’d cry all the way back home. I went from being eager to step into my day and excited about what God had next to being an emotional mess in desperate need of counseling and healing. My overwhelming loneliness zapped my courage, my confidence, and even my dreams and hopes for the future.
At one point my sadness grew so potent that when I’d wake up and read my Bible, I’d long to see Jesus face-to-face. I knew in my heart that He was with me, but I physically wanted to be where He was—I wanted to go to heaven. This went on for weeks. I even shared it with my husband. (It must have made him nervous knowing his wife and the mother of his children wanted to go be with Jesus in heaven!)
One morning, I was sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee, reading my Bible, and praying as I had been for weeks—telling Jesus I was ready for Him to take me to heaven. Suddenly, I was interrupted by the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was a “take off your shoes for the ground you stand on is holy” kind of moment. Everything around me faded to a deafening silence. Even my thoughts escaped me (and that’s saying a lot!). Usually, I hear the Lord speak to me through His Word, or I have thoughts in my mind that I know are from Him. But there have been a few special times in my life when I’ve actually heard the Spirit speak as if He was standing right beside me. This was one of those times. He spoke as a best friend and in a gentle whisper said, “But I am right here, Elizabeth. I’m here.”
He wasn’t mad or angry with me, but His voice sounded sad. I realized I had forgotten something He desperately wanted me to remember. Growing up as the daughter of missionary parents in the Amazon rainforest, I didn’t have many neighbors or friends. But after I gave my heart to Jesus as a little girl, I’d go into the woods and build my own playhouse. There, the Holy Spirit became my imaginary friend—except He was real! We’d talk as if He were right there in front of me. He became my best friend in that rainforest, and He reminded me on the couch that day that He would always be my best friend.
As I recalled that cherished memory, His words, “I am right here,” wrapped His presence around me like a comforting blanket, healing my heart longing to go to Him. The distance I’d been feeling between us for so long was instantly closed. He wasn’t only up there in heaven; He was in me! (see 1 Corinthians 6:19).
We have a God-given promise in John 16:7—a promise directly from Jesus that He was sending the Holy Spirit so we could have a personal relationship with Him. And when we open our hearts and receive that promise, the Holy Spirit can be our constant companion, counselor, and friend. What a comfort! God Himself is present and actually living in us, at all times—even when we don’t feel His presence.
The words of Jesus, “it is for your good that I am going away,” teach us so much about the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives. You don’t need to go to heaven to be with Him! Those words tell us we can have a deeper and more intimate closeness with God through the Holy Spirit living in us than we can with Jesus next to us. The Holy Spirit is our assurance of God’s constant, ongoing presence in our lives.
I don’t know what sadness, loneliness, fear, or grief you may be facing today, but run to the Holy Spirit as your friend and helper. Wherever you are and wherever you go, He is right there with you.
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.comThe “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
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