Last night I was pushing my grocery cart down the isle and had a peculiar experience. Rather than my normal rush-through-for-survial method I was strolling and listening. I was listening for a voice that kept talking to me. “Put that in.” “No not that, this.” (But what IS that I asked?) “It doesn’t matter, put it in.” The next isle came, one I normally skip due to the vast array of International foods I don’t have any idea what they are. “That bag.” “This can.” All through the store we went together- this odd and mysterious ebb and flow that felt much like dancing. I listened for the “turn here”, “choose that”, or even the occasional “put it back.” At the end of this adventure I stopped to look at what was in my grocery cart, realizing I had nothing that was written down on my menu plan. Completely baffled as to what I would do with the random and bizarre items filing the basket, I questioned the voice that had been whispering to me all along. “Now what?! I have no idea what to do with any of this- it doesn’t fit together and I have no menu to follow.” Then I heard- “I will make a feast that is far beyond what you could dream of making. Watch me.”
I should mention at this point that last night I was at home sitting on my living room floor when this happened. In fact, I was in prayer with three other amazing people who were all asking the Lord what He was doing with His people right now. And within moments of beginning our prayer time, its as if I was transported to our local HEB where I had an other worldly moment with the Holy Spirit as He was teaching me in a language He knew I would understand- the grocery store. I just lost half of you. Thats ok, I have also learned that speaking about bizarre experiences like these often makes people, even that I love, shift in their seats. I see it- they smile and nod and quickly change the subject, because- its weird. Well, it is now at least.
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Acts 2:17
I absolutely love this verse because it says ALL people. It does not say all men. It does not say all preachers or all elders. It does not say all white people or all good people. This was a prophecy referenced from the book of Joel. But the words in Joel are incredibly important for us to understand. Verse 28 says, “Then after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit…”
Wait. What things?? The pouring out of His Spirit in visions, dreams, prophesy, wisdom and miracles isn’t a simple marking of time. It’s a response to repentance from the people of God. Stop for a second and go back to read ALL of Joel 2. It begins with the Mighty Marching army of the Lord. Terrifying actually. Verse 12- “This is what the Lord says, turn to me now while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping and mourning.” He actually tells the people- gather EVERYONE- the elders, children, even the babies! He said, let them pray- “don’t let them be a joke for unbelieving foreigners.” (Is this starting to sound familiar?) Only after His people respond with repentance did he promise to restore and pour out His Spirit. However he said to come with fasting. Not like- no TV for a week fasting, like fasting from food, hungry and starving for Gods heart. He said to come with weeping. Not like- we should have acted differently as God’s peoples so let’s talk about it, like- weeping and grieving for how we have hurt His heart. Openly and corporately mourning over the way we have treated His people, His creation. Can you imagine if an entire hour of our gathering was dedicated to this? Twenty minutes? A week? People would think we were crazy! They wouldn’t want to come back. Or would they? Would they see (finally) a bunch of Jesus followers who are broken hearted over our sins as a people (this is a real thing- but as independent Americans we often feel that if we have not personally committed a sin, we are free of guilt). Would they want to be part of something that felt real and vulnerable, and yet desperately aching for God’s heart?
There is such thing as acquired tastes, but in order to acquire them, we have to try them. And I suppose we also have to willing to have our tastebuds change. Isaiah 55:2 says, “Why spend money on what is not bread and labor on what does not satisfy? Listen to me and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of food.” (or have an incredible feast).
Last night at the grocery store, I was painfully challenged. Leave the menu at home Ashley. You know how to cook, you know what those meals look like and taste like. Jesus is doing something in our generation that we have only begun to experience, but I believe it will taste a little different than what we are used to.
“Look at the nations and watch– and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”
-Habakkuk 1:5 (quoted in Acts 13, coming soon 2018…)