Holy Spirit

There was this time when I walked right into an encounter with God and He proved Himself the most effective chiropractor ever.

The H.I.M. conference in Hawaii, short for Hawaiian Islands Ministries, stands as the central Christian conference in the state. It brings believers from all over the island chains to experience speakers of tremendous impact and participate in world-class worship. Increasingly, the youth track is high caliber. It does not stoop to tell teens that they require pandering. It delivers truth into their culture and their experience of life. The speakers for the youth have been, consistently, men whose material I have stolen and whose word reached into my own life.

I never went to a H.I.M. conference without results for my group.

I never went to a H.I.M. conference without some sort of extraordinary conflict trying to tear my group apart.

It was simply the zeitgeist for how these things ran. For the most part, I would trust the process.

One year, though, I was having a hard time trusting the process because there was conflict born of several key players who kicked goads, processes, and anything else in their path that denied them a privileged place at the table. Alongside of that, there was hard time coming that I could sense and see a hundred miles away. I knew the lives of my students, even if they did not know I knew. I knew their struggles, their private victimhood, and their subtle villainy.

And there was little I could do about it.


I walked into one of the youth sessions, not looking for God, not looking for the Spirit, not looking for anything except a headcount to make sure that we didn’t have students down the hall making out. I ran right into one my champion volunteers. She looked me right in the eye and asked if everything was alright. After two nights on a cot, I realistically blamed my sleeping situation for a stiff back. Then I self consciously patted my belly and said, “and it doesn’t help I’m carrying around ten extra pounds I don’t need.”

“You’re carrying around more than that,” She said. At first, I wanted to say, “Hey, don’t try to barter me up weight here… I said ten!” Then I met her look and realized, she wasn’t talking about my tummy, or anything connected to my physical person.

I suddenly felt old and tired. The kind when you have been faking it for a while but can’t stand to try and imitate competence or confidence for one second longer. It was burdensome. It was freedom.

The praise band began to sing,

There’s nothing worth more,
That will ever come close,
No thing can compare,
You’re our living hope,
Your presence, Lord. [1]

It’s so hard to realize that you haven’t wished for the presence of God for a while. It’s not because you haven’t wanted Him. It’s because you were trying to do it yourself.


I was trying to do it myself.

I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone,
In Your presence, Lord [2]

Slowly, I felt myself pressed into the ground with the understanding of the true weight I tried to carry. Slowly, my back bent lower and lower until I stood hunched over the chair in front of me, the strain on my spine, a tremendous pain.

Holy Spirit
You are welcome here!
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by your presence, Lord [3]

And down to my knees, finally under the weight of the world and other people upon it. And in that moment I began to see what comprised the weight. People. Sin. Confusion. Difficulty. Uncertainty.

One by one I named them and one after another I left them, not at the foot of the cross, but in the hands of the Holy Spirit, whose power evaporated them into nothingness and peace. Weight by weight, I unloaded, and brick by brick He and I unbuilt the wall I constructed between us until finally, nothing remained. No fig leaves. No hiding.

Just Him. And me.

Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness [4]

And there in that moment, I worshiped with my whole person, not just my mind, but spirit and body too. There I felt light as a feather, my back straight and free of any weight but my physical person (and ten extra pounds), and my heart reaching out desperately and lovingly to the God who created me.

If you don’t have a friend in your life who will look at you and tell you to cut the act and unload your pack, get right. They will save you from the most destructive force from which you will never be far: your pride. Mine is named Mikki and she is always only a phone call away from good counsel, listening ears, and hands that will do God’s work.

If you have too much weight on the back of your soul, carrying a burden meant only for God, give it and mastery over the details of your struggles over to the mighty peaceful hands of the Holy Spirit, God blowing a mighty wind of love through our lives and empowering the work that will be done to change the world.

  1. Katie Torwalt, Brian Torwalt, “Holy Spirit,”¬†Live From New York, Columbia, 2012. CCLI# 6087919.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.

Categories: WorshipTags: , , , , , , , ,

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