“You will never see Me do anything amazing if you are not willing to take any risks.” These are some of the clearest words the Holy Spirit has ever spoken to me.
I’ve told this story several times in the last few years, not because it’s the only thing God has done, but because it has been very foundational to what He has been doing in me for the last three years. I was at the grocery store, getting in line to check out when I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, “Ask the cashier if she has a daughter.” This was not an audible voice or a mystical feeling. It was a simple knowing in my spirit. What followed was more or less an argument with God.
“Ask her if she has a daughter?”
“Ask her if she has a daughter.”
“I can’t do that. She’s going to think I’m some sort of creeper.”
“You can do it. Just ask her.”
“God, that’s crazy talk.” No Joke, I actually said that to the Holy Spirit.
“You can do this.”
“Why don’t you give me something, like a word of knowledge? Wouldn’t it be better if I could tell her that You showed me something her daughter was dealing with?”
“Just ask her if she has a daughter.”
At this point the lady had begun scanning my groceries and a few people had gotten in line behind me. But I had made up my mind. The Spirit was trying to take me somewhere I had never been, somewhere I wasn’t ready to go. “I can’t,” I said. “This is too weird.”
And then those words from the Holy Spirit came, simple, soft, and loving. “Jarrad, you will never see Me do anything amazing if you are not willing to take any risks.”
I paid for my food. The bagger put my groceries in the cart, and the cashier handed me the receipt. “Thank you,” she said. “Have a nice day.”
“Actually, can I ask you something?” I said.
“Do you have a daughter?”
“Um…yeah…,” she said with a bit of reserve. “She’s fifteen.”
Suffice to say, things felt a little awkward. I stumbled over my words a bit, but was eventually able to explain that God had wanted me to ask about her daughter. “Is everything OK? Does she need prayer?” I asked.
When she realized why I was asking, her persona softened. “Oh, no,” she said. “We are OK. She is good.” And then she added, “She actually goes to Bible study up the road.”
“Really? Where at?” I asked.
“At Christ’s Church.”
“I’m from Christ’s Church.”
“Oh, that’s great. She’s in the youth group there.”
“Wait. Seriously?” I said. “My wife and I are the youth pastors there. What is her name?”
When she told me her daughter’s name, everything clicked into place. You see, her daughter had been coming regularly to our youth group for two years, but in that time we had never met her parents. I had never even laid eyes on them. But in that moment, the Holy Spirit orchestrated the most uncanny of introductions that I had ever experienced. The moment was simple. But the effect of His words was transformational.
Here’s what I have come to learn: The Holy Spirit is always working, always moving in two ways…in you, and through you. In my opinion, I don’t believe He ever separates one way from the other.
In John 16, Jesus said that the Spirit would lead us into all truth. But here is the implication, if the Spirit is leading then we have to choose to follow. And if He is leading us into the unknown, then there comes a point where we have to step beyond what is safe and known, and into what is risk.
You see, it is life in the Spirit that God has called us to. It is the Holy Spirit that reveals the depths of the Father’s heart (I Corinthians 2:10) and reveals and glorifies Christ (John 16:14). But this life is not passive. We seem to have adopted a lifestyle of waiting for God, thinking that we’ll move with the Spirit when He reveals Himself. But truly the Spirit reveals as we move with Him.
I have come to a place where I no longer pray for a move of the Spirit. Think about it, this Holy Spirit who glorifies Christ and reveals the depths of the Father, has He ever stopped moving? The problem is that we have allowed our culture, convenience and comfort to dictate not when and where the Spirit moves, but when and where we actually follow Him.
Jesus Christ revealed the Father. He brought life into death, healing into sickness, redemption into darkness. This is the life we have united with. The life and mission of Jesus is the Father’s will for us, and it is what the Holy Spirit is always–always–moving us forward in. But if we are going to see Christ glorified, and the greatness of God revealed to the world, we must learn to live radically with the Spirit.