BY MATT BAYS, AUTHOR, SPEAKER & BLOGGER
I sat in church this weekend while the pastor Dave Rod talked about walking in the spirit. I knew what he meant—listening for God’s voice.
It’s a path I’ve walked beautifully at times. A path where I’ve known who I am and whose I am. Felt like I could fly—the wind beneath my wings. Healing held me in the palm of its hand, breathed on me, into me, and kissed the heartache inside of me.
But on this day, and several weeks prior, I felt almost nothing. Sort of sad. A little empty. Fearful of the future. Wishing for levity. Wanting hope. Waiting for lightning to strike.
I needed a sign. I had been waiting for a sign.
At the end of the service, a line formed in the aisle. People were waiting to be prayed over. I thought about getting in line myself. I wanted to feel something. I wanted to walk in the spirit—with the spirit.
For me, walking in the spirit has always meant the wind beneath my wings part of life. When you feel the truth, when you feel the love deeply within you. When you don’t have a question or a fear, a doubt or an anxious thought. When you are no longer encumbered by your own humanity.
But this cannot be true.
Divinity and humanity are a mystical blend of eternity and death—of love and loss. We certainly walk alongside God, but we are not God. We are sinful. Broken. While God is loving kindness—content with humanity—exactly as we are. God does not measure us against a spiritual yardstick. We are measured only by our recognized need for him.
So I stepped into the aisle at Grace Church. I joined the line makers, all searching, same as me.
At the front of the room Rob Yonan held my hands and prayed. There are only two things I remember him saying.
“God,” he said, “I wish Matt were praying for me.”
Sometimes a prayer catches you so off guard that it instantly humbles you, because a prayer prayed in humility levels the praying field. It harmonizes the praying and the prayed for.
He needed God too. We both did. I wasn’t alone.
The second I remember was this…
“Even more so.”
As in “God, help Matt to walk in your spirit even more so.”
When it is firing on all cylinders, the church, the family of God, is a rare beauty.
A little over a year ago I left my 9 to 5…to walk in the spirit. Let me tell you, there are beautiful things about starting over. But it’s not easy. Because we are often waiting on God to show us a sign. And when a sign doesn’t appear, we question whether or not we’re making a mess of things—whether or not we heard God wrong.
This is where humanity and holiness dance. Holiness offers its hand to the most dressed down partner in the room—humanity. And strangely, it is our lack of faith, our ruin, our pride, our need for control that qualifies us to dance with redemption. Our brokenness is what makes us a worthy dance partner. We only need to reach out our hand.
Tell me the truth about all you’ve done, seen, been, and I will never stop asking you to dance. Your redemption story has nothing to do with what YOU’VE done, but with who I am. Knowing that you cannot do it on your own is what makes you worthy. So rest assured, YOU haven’t arrived. But I have.
When church was over, I still could feel it in my chest.
No levity. No hope. No lightning.
I wanted a sign but had decided to stop worrying and instead, trust…even more so…just as Rob had prayed. To continue feeling what I felt and wait it out.
Just do the next right thing, I told myself, which for me was folding the laundry, eating pizza, and watching the Olympics. But after watching thirty minutes of what was to be a four-hour bike race, I randomly flipped the channel up one station.
Like I said, I had decided to wait it out. To stop waiting for a sign—waiting to feel something in order to be okay. I could no longer expect my humanity to just disappear, especially since my humanity was the very thing that connected me so beautifully to Jesus.
To my redemption.
But God is funny. So creative. So ironic. Sometimes God uses a sign or wonder to let us know we don’t need a sign or wonder. Imagine that.
The song posted at the end of this article started the moment I changed the channel. And I listened to it, knowing that God is close to the brokenhearted, which at that moment, just happened to be me.
My friends…he just keeps showing up.
He’s a Laundry-At-My-Feet, Middle-Of-The-Day-God. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You just keep telling me the truth, he says. And don’t feel the need to have it all together—I’ll have it together for you.
And Matthew, when you’re sad, aimless, worried, hopeless, fearful—when you’re broken—you don’t need a sign or wonder.
What you need…