My Oldest Friend

I grew up in church. I’m one of those people who can’t remember a time before I was saved. I remember moments when my understanding would catch up to what I believed. As I grew, I became more aware of my beliefs and my own abilities to choose them. I was five or six the first time I understood what it truly meant that Jesus had died for my sins and I had the opportunity to accept Him into my heart. I remember coming home from church and crawling under a table to pray and accept Him into my heart – I have no idea why that was my reaction instead of talking to someone at church or my family.

Even at that age, I was building a relationship with Holy Spirit, I just didn’t have the understanding to name Him yet. I knew that Jesus was my friend, even though He wasn’t physically on the earth anymore. John 14: 26 says that the Helper will be sent in Jesus’s name to teach us and remind us of everything that Jesus said.

So as I was learning and remembering who Jesus was, I was actually doing that through my connection with Holy Spirit. I had a relationship with Christ through Holy Spirit, and I had a relationship with Holy Spirit. We spent time together, even though I didn’t really know it yet.

I want to make a note right from the beginning that I am not a “better Christian” than anyone else simply because I was raised in church and in relationship with Holy Spirit. Your past does not disqualify you from a present relationship and you are not too far behind.

The point I am trying to make in this blog is that Holy Spirit didn’t wait for me to know Him before He knew me. He was there even when I didn’t know who He was. And I believe He was there before you knew who He was too.

Every time I think about Him, I am filled with a sense of familiarity. I am just now getting to the point where I am beginning to recognize His presence in my past and in my memories.

I had an intriguing conversation this weekend about the way that God exists outside of time. He is always fully present, and He is not limited by time.  

Perhaps my present understanding of Holy Spirit in my past is also an encounter with Him in my present – even though He was there back then. I can encounter the Holy Spirit in my memories right now, and He is currently teaching me about Himself through my past.

He can also take me on a journey of healing or understanding within my memories and with my past self. He is present and He is real, but He can also work through my memories and my imagination.

It was just this year that I had a realization as I was telling someone about my history with prayer. I was telling her about my earliest memories of intercessory prayer. I can remember lying in my bed – unable to sleep. I would lie there and pray about people who were hurting in the world. People who felt forgotten. I would think about Jesus’s sacrificial love and care for them. I would pray for God to heal the sick and wounded whom I didn’t even know. I would pray that people would be free from pain, even if only for a moment. I would ponder what it must have felt like for Jesus to take on the sin of the entire world on the cross, and I would pray that I would be able to help Him in healing and caring for people.

As I explained all of this, I said, “I don’t really know who taught me to pray like that. I mean, my parents were amazing in the way they taught me to pray, but I don’t know who taught me to pray like… that.”

She just looked at me and said, “the Holy Spirit.”

That realization catapulted me into new depths in my prayer. I had a new confidence as I thought back to my history. I realized that intercession felt familiar. The more I considered Holy Spirit in my past, the more familiar He felt.

He was there when I was a child, knowing that I did not fully grasp His presence. There is just something so sweet about that relationship, and the way He has been so consistent in my life. As I ponder new things I am learning from the Bible, about Jesus, or about God’s heart, I don’t feel like I am doing it alone.

Every step I take in my relationship with God, I have a Friend with me. He has been there for every step of my journey. He has been there all along, even if I am only just learning how to respond to Him and spend time with Him.

If you are struggling or feeling stagnant in your walk with God, I encourage you to approach the mystery with your Friend. You can even look back to your past and see places where He has been with you. As you recognize His presence in your past, you will even learn and grow in your relationship today.

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.

Holy Spirit, You are welcome in my past. Come flood that place and fill my memories.

Holy Spirit, You are welcome in my future. Come flood that place and change the atmosphere.

Author  |  Mackenzie Wells

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