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 (Manna 51: Family Focus)
A Hug from God
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A Hug from God

Chuny Chin—London, United Kingdom

A Liberating Heart-to-Heart Talk

It was Friday March 3rd, 7:30 a.m. As the stone from my heart melted away, so the sun rose and shone a fresh ray of hope through my bedroom window. In the early hours of that morning, my brother and I had a heart-to-heart talk that will remain indelible in my heart.

It began when I heard my brother cry tears of what sounded like anguish and desperation. He later expressed to me he could not understand why God had not yet bestowed on him the Holy Spirit. He had in his heart a fire to do great things for the Lord, but why was God taking this long to give him what he so desired?

Impatience or a lack of trust, perhaps. Nevertheless, my brother was desperate to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that he could be empowered and tell his truth-seeking friend firsthand about the precious Holy Spirit. Touched by the zeal with which he thirsted for God’s spirit, I reflected upon my own obedience, whether I had cherished God’s priceless promise fully. We continued to share our deepest thoughts, aspirations and worries. For the first time, I opened up to him about a burden I had carried for what seemed like forever. Although I knew God was a merciful Father, I was unable to forgive myself for the wrong path I once pursued.

I had fluctuated between glimpses of hope and a heavy conscience. There were times when I would be optimistic and immersed myself in church work, university, and friendships. Yet there were many sleepless nights when I cried over my foolishness, and moments when the past would haunt me, leaving me paralyzed and practically incapable of doing anything. My remorse deterred me from a deeper relationship with God.

I kept this buried in my heart. Despite being surrounded by friends, this part of me felt very alone. But in His mercy, God kept knocking and did not give up on me. By His providence and meticulous timing, He placed my brother and me in a situation where He could comfort us through each other, and for the first time, I felt true relief from this struggle.

            Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for
their labor.
For if they fall, one
will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when
he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
(Eccl 4:9-10)

Initially I was worried about revealing such personal struggles to a single soul for fear of being judged or condemned by others. But since the love of Jesus is able to blot out our imperfections and bestow on us peace and comfort, should not our brothers and sisters in Christ also bring us comfort when we open up? Furthermore, when we give Jesus our broken dreams as well as our hopes, we will realize how blessed we are to be in the hands of a loving and merciful Father.

A Brand New Day

The following day, I was awakened by my brother praying. My brother was speaking in tongues! At first I was unsure whether it was my tired mind playing tricks on me. But when I joined him in prayer, I felt God truly amidst us, sitting with us in our living room as we knelt before Him.

I am incapable of describing this feeling aptly, but I could imagine God had His Holy Spirit hose on full blast, showering us with His comfort and blessing. His presence was glorious, overwhelming, and at the end of the prayer we were both speechlessly elated and overflowing with tears of happiness.

It was then that my brother confessed he, too, shared the same struggle I had confided to him about the previous night, yet God reached down and comforted him. Thus, I further felt this was God’s way of telling us not to worry or be anxious over past troubles and mistakes: He is still in us and we in Him. At this moment, I felt even lighter than before, for God had unmistakably relieved us of our burdens once and for all, and I felt great confidence, not in my own character but in Jesus’ enduring power to heal.

It is no coincidence that God gave my brother the Holy Spirit during this time of need, and it was never clearer: God is merciful and loving. Nothing seemed to matter anymore, for God had given us a brand new day.

Satan Launches a Counter Attack

A little while later, my brother prayed again to confirm the Holy Spirit’s abidance. However, perhaps due to a slight ounce of doubt within him, he did not speak in tongues—it was not the same sort of joyful prayer as the previous one. My brother sensed that Satan used his physical fatigue to make him feel hampered and anxious. I, too, sensed Satan attack. When we prayed together again, I longed to pray more zealously but my throat suddenly became sore, preventing me from praying louder and distracting me from communicating to God with the urgency that was needed. Both feeling dispirited and confused, we lost concentration and ceased the prayer.

Satan gets anxious when God is changing us for greater things. During pivotal moments in our faith, he is naturally attracted and drawn to us to fight God with all the vigor he has. Although we were both somewhat disheartened and anxious, we remembered that our hearts are the battleground for God and Satan; how we choose to focus our lives and the effort we exert, physically as well as spiritually, will determine the outcome of the battle. It is our choice.

After the prayer, we comforted each other, and a Bible passage I had read the previous day sprung to mind. I’ve learned that when we make the effort to read and meditate upon the Scriptures, God will bring to remembrance His word in that hour of need.

            Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Pet 5:8)

This often-used verse led us to reflect upon daily renewal. While we pondered over the battle in which we were fighting, we realized that being victorious in Jesus is far from merely not crossing the line that divides us from sin.

Imagine a game of “catch.” God can represent “home,” our shelter in times of need and our hiding place. We must constantly and daily pursue “home” (the safe ground) because darkness does not stand still; if we are stagnant in pursuing God, Satan will eventually catch up to us.

 

Complacency with only not crossing the line can eventually lead us to veer dangerously outside the barrier enclosing God’s grace. Thus, we should run away from the barrier, not just for fear of punishment and Satan’s traps but also to delight in and look forward to what God has in store for us, for it is far sweeter, greater and glorious than anything sin has to offer.

A Slice of Heaven and a Peace Not of This World

After meditating upon God’s word, my brother and I prayed again—this time for peace. My brother did not pray in tongues again, but God granted us the peace and the calmness of which we were in dire need. In this prayer, I felt an intimacy and closeness with Him on a level I had never experienced before. A fountain of happiness gushed out with full force from inside me. I felt as light as a feather and I was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Whenever I had a deep prayer in the past, I did not think it could get deeper, or at least my limited imagination prevented me from believing it was possible. But during this prayer, I appreciated the meaning of “perpetual.” The attainment of satisfaction and peace in communing with God is continuous and infinite. It will only continue to get better and brighter, far beyond what the human mind can conceive because nothing in this world can gratify the way Jesus does.

Is Your All on the Altar?

During Sabbath service the following day, we sang the hymn “Is your all on the altar?” I was sure God was strengthening my brother through the hymn. Doubt had crept into his heart and prevented the Holy Spirit from filling him completely, and this was a message never to doubt.

It reminded me of my similar experience when I received the Holy Spirit. When I first spoke in tongues, I wanted some reaffirmation of the Holy Spirit, and whenever this notion of doubt arose in me, I would cease speaking in tongues.

I’ve learned that if we do not completely yield to God our body and soul, He cannot take full control, so it is our responsibility to lay our all on the altar.

Later that Sabbath, my brother shared these experiences with other brothers and sisters in church and drew advice and counsel. He again prayed in tongues and was filled with the Holy Spirit. We were all encouraged and extremely happy for him to be able to rejoice in God’s promise. Praise God!

For a period prior to receiving the Holy Spirit, I saw God refining my brother’s attitudes. When one’s outlook on life becomes God-focused and an aspiration to serve Jesus develops, God will further stir up and awaken our love for Him. Now, I cannot help but be amazed at the timing in which my brother was granted the Holy Spirit.

And It Only Gets Better

As if God had not blessed me enough, He further assured me through a sister on the Sabbath day. This sister (with whom I had not shared my problems at the time) told me of a vision she received during a Friday evening prayer. In the vision, she saw herself dancing a spiritual dance under a bright white light. As she turned to her right, she saw me in a beautiful, white silk-like garment, also dancing a spiritual dance (and playing a tambourine!). We were dancing joyfully with all our hearts with many angels around us, and she felt we were dancing at the feet of Jesus.

The sister was at first surprised, not only because of the nature of the vision but also because she had not been thinking of me but praying for her father. She also felt a sense of fulfillment and peace in her heart. At the end of the prayer her heart was beating very fast, as if she had physically been dancing.

 

Needless to say, I was slightly shocked to hear about this vision, and, although we cannot interpret specifics from the symbols, I know that God loves me so much as to comfort and reassure me through such an experience.

I praise and thank Jesus for blessing both of us on that Sabbath with His abidance, this vision, and His encouragement through fellowship.

A Kiss I Will Never Forget

            Let him kiss me with the kisses of his
mouth—
For your love is better than wine.
(Song 1:2)

There are a number of memorable instances in my life in which I tasted God’s kiss. I thank God He used this series of events to impart to me so many wonderful teachings. God reminded me of His comfort and support in mutual fellowship, His merciful and paternal nature, and His irreplaceable and everlasting joy.

He also taught me the importance of wholehearted dedication in prayer, the freedom in forgiveness, the blessing in understanding others, the dangers in complacency, the need to fully rely on Him, and the joy from trusting in His will for me.

There are so many more things I have learned, but it would be impossible to finish typing if I were to list them all. God’s grace is a never-ending fountain, and literally every day I have pondered over and discovered even more perspectives in which I have been blessed.

I pray my lips will remain clean, ready to receive more of His kisses:

            So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of
unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The LORD of hosts.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having
in his hand a live coal which he had taken
with the tongs from the altar. And he
touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.” (Isa 6:5-7)

May we incessantly remember God’s mercy and atonement for our sins that we will never grow weary or become disillusioned. God has cleansed my lips and kissed me for a reason. As yet, I do not know the finer intricacies of God’s plans in my life, and although the way ahead may at times be foggy, Jesus will always be my absolute source of reliance. Whatever comes my way, whichever path I take, I look forward to gladly glorifying Him for the rest of my life.

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Publisher: True Jesus Church
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