Once we have become confident that God really is in control of His universe, that He loves and cherishes us, and that He is going to take care of us in a way that is really good for us, we can trust Him enough to open up with enough vulnerability to receive from Him (see Trusting God). Our conviction is that Jesus is our perfect Shepherd, who makes no mistakes, and we are His sheep cared for in His pasture. He loves each one of us very passionately and very tenderly. He wants us each to grow into strong, vibrant Christians, who are His disciples, His witnesses, His warriors. His desire has always been to be “God with us”, and He has decided to accomplish that by living inside us in the person of His Holy Spirit.
He loves living inside us, where He can know our thoughts and feel our feelings. He wants us to become comfortable with really deep intimacy with Him, trusting Him with our thoughts and feelings. We began our pilgrimage with Jesus by trusting Him with our eternity and with our lives. Since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9), we can trust the Holy Spirit just as completely as we trust Jesus. He loves us just as Jesus loves us, and because He loves us He will lovingly bring about the changes in us that we need in order to become what Jesus has designed us to be. Jesus is the Lord of the universe, and since Jesus has ascended to the Father, the Holy Spirit has been given to us as the “action-person” of the Godhead here on earth. He is now ruler and shepherd of the children of God (Mt 2:6), for the Lord Jesus. We can trust Him to act in the very same way that Jesus does.
Jesus challenged the trust of His disciples when He said, “What man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Mt 7:9-11)
We have good reason to trust that when we ask the Lord to touch us by His Holy Spirit and give us what He knows we need, that He will do just that, and that He will protect us from any of the enemy’s possible attempts to take advantage of our vulnerability before the Lord, at that moment. He will give us all the discernment we need in such a time of openness to Him. Too many Christians have a greater fear of being deceived by the enemy than they have a trust in the Lord to give them the discernment they need for their protection. They are not fully comprehending the very important role that we are supposed to give the Holy Spirit of God in our lives.
We have learned that God is “omnipresent”—that is, present everywhere. Sometimes He “manifests” His presence in ways that can be seen or felt, like when He parted the Red Sea. When we find ourselves in a worship service where the Lord has come in His “manifest presence”, and we can sense He is there in power, this is wonderful and it is an opportunity to receive from the Lord. He is the one who initiates His coming in His manifest presence, and it can happen anywhere. Usually, He comes in this way in a worship service. If we are living in an attitude of fleshly self sufficiency, thinking we need nothing more from the Lord, we will probably not receive anything from Him in that moment. However, if we are living with an awareness of our great dependence upon Him, and we are hungry for His presence, we will most likely be able to receive from Him. This is a time for us to let down our “walls”, and even allow ourselves to feel our love for Him emotionally (we don’t normally do this, because we fear that we will have tears). When we come as His hungry children, we are in the best position to receive from Him the nourishment we need spiritually, emotionally, and even physically in a healing.
Remember the very important word to us in Proverb 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding”. Our understanding is in our mind, and it tends to want to figure everything out apart from consulting the Lord. It can be very proud. God says we’re to trust with our heart….listen with our heart….which is the Old Testament way to speak of our innermost part. The word “spirit” is also used in the OT for the same purpose (Ps 32:2; 51:10; Prov 20:27). The New Testament also uses the words spirit, or heart (see Gal 4:6; Heb 4:12), for our innermost being, not our physical blood-pumping organ. So, we can expect God to communicate with us into our spirit, by His Holy Spirit, and then our spirit releases understanding into our mind and our emotions. The Lord wants us to “listen” with our spirit, so His Spirit can speak into our spirit, and then we can receive His meaning in our minds. If we begin our inquiry about something that concerns us in our own supposedly self-sufficient minds, then all we will get is our own limited understanding, rather than the wealth of what God has for us.
Most Christians have two primary hindrances to receiving from the Lord: a habit of analyzing things too much (wanting to understand everything with their minds), and a desire to be in control (so they can take care of themselves). So, while they are being prayed for, to receive from God, they are apt to be asking a rapid series of internal questions like, “Is this what I’m supposed to be feeling? Is anything happening? Is anything going to happen? Is this person who is praying for me getting tired of praying?” In addition, as the “manifest presence” of the Lord (or God’s power) comes upon the person, and he/she begins to feel a bit wobbly, there will be that natural instinct to do whatever it takes to “maintain one’s composure”. Here is where we must just surrender to whatever the Lord is doing, trusting that He knows best, without our typical analysis (which we normally do as a means of protecting, or taking care of ourselves). This is a time to let our perfect Shepherd be in control, letting Him impart right into our spirit, soul and body whatever He wants, and letting Him take care of us, because we trust Him without any reservations.
If we do all of the above, there is a pretty good chance that we will end up “resting in the Spirit” on the floor (someone will catch us, and let us down gently). Then, if we maintain this surrender before the Lord while on the floor, we will usually experience the wonderful peace that only the Holy Spirit can give, as we lie there (remember John 14:27). We mustn’t begin analyzing while on the floor either (What’s happening now? Is anyone else on the floor?). We are best advised to remain hungry for the Lord’s presence, desiring to fully experience Him in whatever way He chooses to come to us. We may feel His power on or in our bodies. He may go in and do a measure of healing of the hurts in our hearts, and this may cause us to cry some. We are best advised to surrender to this crying. Just let the Lord do the healing that He has in mind. He may fill us with joy, so that we experience laughter. Let it rip. Don’t worry about anyone else around you.
This wonderful peace that the Lord grants at this time is a kind of spiritual anesthesia, while He does things in our souls, or our bodies. We should cherish it. We certainly can’t manufacture it on our own. We should stay down on the floor as long as the Lord is pouring out the peace on us. Many people have times on the carpet (sometimes lovingly called “carpet time”) for over an hour, and never have a clue what God is doing inside. This is alright. He IS doing something, you can be sure. That’s why he put you down there on His operating table. Some people have experiences of knowing a lot about what He is doing. He knows when we need to know, and when it’s best for us not to know. We’re back to trusting Him on this matter, too.
God usually has plans for us to meet with Him on His operating table several times, not just once. He uses these times to bring healing to the wounded places in our souls, sometimes healing to our bodies, oftentimes additional truth so that our minds can be renewed (Rom 12:2), sometimes direction for our lives, and to advance our growth as Christians, toward maturity. We would all be greatly benefited by finding a way to meet with Him additional times, in this way. God has invited us to come and experience Him in various ways, because He loves us. He is intimately aware of everything in our lives. He wants us to get to know Him more completely, and to enter more fully into an intimate relationship with Him.