With the touch of a match the candle wick ignites, flickering then burning steadily, bringing a golden glow to the place where I sit during my quiet time with God. Its cheering light gives me a focal point as I meditate on the sacred words I read. The candle’s subtle citrus scent teases my nose ˗˗ its small flame warms my face.
I envision the Holy Spirit of God as a single flame, like that of a candle. It is an apt picture. When Jesus appeared to the apostles after His resurrection, He told them to wait for the gift His Father promised, the Holy Spirit who would imbue them with power. On the day of Pentecost tongues of fire came to rest on each of them, filling them with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:3 NIV)
In the past, my life journey was shadowed by struggle and sorrow. I wondered if I would be engulfed by darkness, yet a faint light of hope led me on. I remember huddling in my bed, overwhelmed with despair, yet I felt a tiny flicker of anticipation. In that fathomless darkness God’s Holy Spirit shone like a small candle, giving me hope that I would walk in the light again. Though wicked winds threatened at times to snuff it out, I kept my eyes on the light of the Spirit, guiding me forward.
A single candle flame emits a surprising amount of energy. During a power outage we were without a source of heat, so we lit as many candles as would fit on our kitchen table, sat around it and kept nicely warm. God’s Holy Spirit reaches me sometimes through a warming of my heart. Or even a burning, like the two who walked to Emmaus with the resurrected Jesus, who asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)
The Spirit of God communicates in ways uniquely suited to my personality, knowing how to touch my soul. My heart warms toward others when His Spirit wants me to reach out to someone in need; it burns with conviction when I have sinned against Him; it ignites with creativity when I exercise my writing gift. Then there are the precious moments when my whole being is suffused with the warmth of His presence, when my worship and love rise like incense because of who He is and what He has done.
What an awesome mystery, that God’s Spirit flows from within me where He resides, rather than influencing me externally. As Jesus said, “Whoever believes in Me, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. (John 7:38-39)
It has taken me years of trial and error to carry the flame of the Spirit steadily. Even now I sometimes neglect to let it shine, like those in the parable, putting my lamp under a bowl instead of on a stand, where it can give light to everyone. (Mt.5:14-15) Gradually I am learning to rely on God’s Spirit within to guide and direct me as a writer. Before my fingers touch the computer keys, I seek the Spirit’s inspiration and direction about what I should write. I anticipate His confirmation, an imprimatur of peace I have come to recognize as from Him. He plants an idea like a seed, nurtures it during prayer and meditation on His Word, then makes it bloom onto the page as I write. Some blooms take longer to unfurl, some are more vibrant than others, yet I trust they will grow according to His will.
John the Baptist said of Jesus, “The one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.” (John 3:34) I believe because Jesus Christ resides within me through His Spirit, then I, too, have the Spirit without limit. All things are possible through Him. As I seek to live deeply in Him, I pray I will reflect His radiance, like a small candle flame shining in the darkness.
More of Valerie's work can be read on her blog. https://wordpress.scriptordeus.com/