Today’s talk is on the theme of God’s visit in our lives. I will be sharing from Psalm 8:1-9, and talk about the sweetness and intimacy of the visit of the Spirit of God. I am hoping that, just like the Psalmist, we respond and say: “Oh Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
One of my missionary friend tells me of his experience with God’s visit. He is used to seeing God’s miracles and power from his everyday life. These are ordinary occurrences in the missions field. But with regards to God’s sweet visit, he experiences the intimate visit of God only when he is out scuba diving and going under the waters watching wonderful creatures from the ocean. Another missionary friend tells me that he experiences God’s sweet presence when he is doing carpentry in his shop or work room. He imagines Jesus working with him doing wood work. Both of these friends are seeing the majesty of the Spirit of God in intimate and renewing ways.
(Please read the whole chapter of Psalm 8.) Psalm chapter eight speaks of the majesty of God. We see God’s strength from children and helpless babies. We see God’s glory from the stars and other beautiful heavenly bodies. We see God’s beauty through the creative works of ordinary humans. In all these, the Psalmist responds to God saying: “Oh Lord, how majestic You are!” Just like the Psalmist, we also can experience the sweet visit of the Spirit of God. When we do, we will respond like the Psalmist and exult God’s majestic strength, glory, and beauty.
There are two things I want to share with everyone about the visit of God. One is that the Spirit of God comes in an intimate way. When God created humans he breathed on man and created him from the dust. (Genesis 2:7) There is here the image of God stooping over and coming down to an earthly level to give life to man and woman. (See Genesis 2:22). This is a picture of an intimate encounter. Proverbs also speaks of a very special visit from the Spirit of God at the time of creation (Proverbs 8:22-23). The Spirit’s visit is so intimate that only the person and God will fully understand the depth of such an encounter.
When my daughter was born, I had the privilege of receiving her in my arms. I was there inside the delivery room. Despite the blood and everything, I held her close to my heart and kissed her in an intimate way—a kiss that only I can understand. In the Bible the Spirit of God comes to us in an intimate manner. He teaches us how to pray. He helps us talk to the Father with groaning, and sometimes in deep agony and intense intercession. (See Romans 8:26). The encounter is so deep that only God and that person praying can fully comprehend the situation. The Spirit of God comes in an intimate way.
Second is that the Spirit of God comes and renews us. The Apostle John speaks of the Spirit convicting the world. (See John 16:8). In another translation, this verse speaks of the Spirit exposing us because of sin, righteousness, and judgement. The Spirit shines his light on us and then renewal comes to us. In the Bible, we see that the Spirit renews all creation—including all his children. (See Psalm 104:30). He comes and makes everything new in our lives.
One time I was hiking in Kentucky (USA). I felt God’s presence through my experience with nature. It was a point in my life that I was overwhelmed with loneliness. I was missing home. I wanted to go back to the Philippines and return to everything that was familiar. I shared this to my friends. And we prayed together. I opened up to my professors. And they gave me wise counsel. I sought the help of my pastors. And they encouraged me. And yet, after all these forms of support, I still felt the need to see God in a personal way and to feel his visit in a most intimate manner. So, when my classmates mentioned a weekend of hiking and camping at the Red River Gorge, I joined in. I was hoping, during this trip, I would experience God’s presence in a profound way.
At one point during our hike, I told my friends that I wanted to be alone. They conceded. I went up an elevated portion of the gorge that ended on the edge of a cliff. I stood there at the edge overlooking a valley and watched the colorful hues of Autumn trees. I stood there and soaked in all the grandeur of the mountains around me and the captivating valley below me.
At that moment, by the edge of that cliff, I felt a stillness around me. I noticed there was no wind, no breeze blowing for a few minutes or so. Everything, every tree, bush, and shrub were silent and standing still. Beside me overlooking the valley stood a small tree. Suddenly, I saw a leaf fall from that tree. It floated and drifted away slowly towards the valley below. I followed that falling leaf, until I could no longer see it from down below the valley floor. And in that moment, I heard God speak to me, deep into my heart. He spoke in a very intimate way.
God said: “David, I love you my son. I care for you so much that I have prepared this place for us to meet. Even before creation, I have already thought about creating this gorge, this valley, this very tree by the edge of the cliff so that we can meet, just you and I. I have appointed this time, this moment with this one falling leaf as a way of showing you my love. I am here. Do not be discouraged. Do not feel lonely. I will be there for you. When you go back to Asia, I will be with you all the way. You are in my heart even before you were born, even from the beginning of time. I love you my son.”
My experience with God through nature encouraged me in a personal way—an encouragement that no one else can understand. God met me in the forest at the edge of the cliff. He spoke to me when I was spiritually down and, using a tree, God lifted me up and renewed my whole being. He is a majestic God.
When God visits us, our response is like that of the Psalmist, when he said: “Oh Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.” In the Bible, from the Old Testament, we see the example of Elijah, how God visited him in an intimate way and how God renewed his life. We find this in 1 Kings 19:9-18. It would be better to read the whole chapter, but here in these few verses we see Elijah’s situation. He is discouraged and fleeing in fear because the Queen of the country wanted him to be killed. Elijah is saying to himself that he is the only prophet left. He is wallowing in self-pity. But God says he is not the only one. There are many more prophets of God. He asks Elijah to go to a mountain and meet with the Spirit of God in an intimate way. Elijah stands before God at the mouth of a cave. Then a strong wind comes that shakes the mountain, but God is not there. Next, a powerful earthquake comes, but God is not in the earthquake. Later fire comes, but still God is not in the fire . Finally, a gentle whisper comes and God visits Elijah in an intimate way and renews Elijah and his commitment to God. He is truly a majestic God.
Do you want to experience the sweet visit of the Spirit of God? When God comes, it will be so intimate that only you and God will fully understand the encounter. When God visits, you will be so encouraged and renewed in your most inner being. Do you want to say with the Psalmist, “Oh Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!”? Come and experience the sweet visit of the Spirit of God.