Happy Birthday to me. As of a few days ago I’ve officially graduated from my 20s! New things are in the air, and I’ve been cognizant of the transition for a few weeks now. We have been celebrating my 30th birthday all week, and today culminates the festivities with a cake and singing.
In seminary this past week, we examined the inter-testamental period: 400 years of “silence” between the active ministries of the Hebrew prophets and Jesus’ coming to the earth in bodily human form. This was also the time that the Septuagint (LXX) was written (a Greek translation of Scripture). Interestingly, the LXX uses over twenty verbs to describe the activity of the Holy Spirit, even though the Spirit was “silent” during that period. Fascinating, right?!
The inter-testament Jewish atmosphere (from what we’re reading in class) was largely cessationalist (not believing in the supernatural nature of the Spirit for their day); and many believed the Spirit had left them entirely, with exception of many rabbis who held onto the hope that the Spirit would come again in the Messianic eschatological age. Liturgy, the Scriptures, and the rabbis pulled together the Jewish people as the major focuses. And interestingly, the Jews begun to evangelize throughout all the world (due to the Diaspora) with great fervor, collecting many converts. Recall in Acts 2 when the Jews and Jewish proselytes come from “every nation” (Acts 2:5). That occurred because of this period.
The Holy Spirit, while “silent” was not stagnant: He was working behind the scenes to prepare the hearts for the exciting reconciliation of heaven and earth in a big way. When Jesus entered the scene, the Kingdom of heaven was now at hand. The focus on Scripture was necessary to build the foundation for this experience; the Spirit and the Word now and always work together for God’s purposes.
Considering this, I have been very encouraged to recognize the Spirit’s nature in application to my own life. I have prayed for healing over my chronic conditions for five years now, and have largely felt silence despite the Spirit working through me in other outlets of my life. “Silent” seasons are not always comfortable. The Holy Spirit, however, is always moving. I just learned that the words for Spirit (ruach in Hebrew, and pneuma in Greek) do not just mean wind, breath, or spirit, rather: wind, breath, or spirit in motion. The Spirit is on a mission. He is acting even in the seasons when we cannot hear or sense Him in the most tangible way.
In the last month of transition, I had a moment where friends prayed over me and I felt as if I were in the middle of a hurricane. It was nothing I have felt before. The winds were going around me so fast and tangibly, yet no one else could feel them.
In the following weeks I have begun to thank the Lord with new passion, despite not sensing any external change. Then, a couple weeks ago, I experienced another surreal experience: As my husband and I were praying, one area of my stomach began to feel very hot while the rest of my body was cold from the wind coming through the open windows. We knew the heat was coming from a work of the Spirit inside of me (I’ve had problems with a few different organs), and the sensation and supernatural peace stayed for a couple hours until we finally fell asleep.
Physically, I face the same health challenges as before. But something is moving and changing as the Spirit brings a new season.
With so much to be thankful for and celebrate, it is now time for cake!