April 06, 2022

Holy Spirit, Come by Susan Barclay

I confess that I didn’t post last month. I was sick of the pandemic; sick of thinking, hearing and reading about Covid; tired of wearing a mask whenever I had to go out; just exhausted from the whole thing. It’s been a long two years, amen?

Saying that, it’s ironic that when I thought about what to write for today, Covid came to mind, at least as a springboard. Over the last 24 months, this too-long season of coronavirus, God has been bringing change. Largely cooped up, with pretty much nowhere to go but work and the grocery store, my husband and I were exposed to a wider variety of voices through reading and watching livestream sermons. Instead of just attending our own church, we watched services of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, Emmaus Road, FirstBaptist in Atlanta, and others, learning from different teachers. We read Talking Back to Purity Culture by Rachel Joy Welcher, Half the Church by Carolyn Custis James, Another Gospel? by Alisa Childers, all of which God used to transform our hearts and our thinking. We started asking questions we had never asked before, wondering why we were suddenly discovering things previously hidden (to us at least), and somewhat shocked out of our complacency.

The Holy Spirit gives us new life.

Jesus wants to renew us. In Matthew 5:6, he said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.” In John 7:37, He said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink.” We aren’t meant to get stagnant in our faith; we are meant to be touched by living water. 

Streams of water.
There is a familiar saying – “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” It’s possible that changes in our family circumstances over the last few years, combined with the realities of life during a global upheaval, readied us to receive new information and to allow the Holy Spirit to speak, giving us fresh insight and understanding.

Jesus said that it was better for Him to leave the disciples so that the Holy Spirit could come:

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].” ~John 16:7, AMP

He also said that the “Holy Spirit…leads into all truth.” ~John 14:17 

The Holy Spirit speaks through the pages of God's Word.
What does the coming of the Holy Spirit mean to me personally, though? Well, it definitely means having the best Teacher I could possibly have. As I ask the Spirit to guide my understanding of the Word, He reveals things I wouldn’t otherwise see or comprehend. It means I can uncover new riches in the treasure of God’s Word even after reading the same verse or passage for the umpteenth time. His Word never becomes stale but is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). The coming of the Holy Spirit also means being filled with Christ’s Spirit so that I have all that I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) - love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Am I perfect? No, but the One who dwells within me is. He helps me in my weakness and intercedes for me, convicting me when I’ve missed the mark in order to keep our fellowship sweet.

I recently started reading Kim Walker-Smith’s Brave Surrender and love this description of the Holy Spirit at work at a Jesus Culture concert some time ago:

"‘How He Loves’ was the last song in our set, and when we finally reached it, I could feel the atmosphere change in the room. The presence of the Holy Spirit became as tangible as the nose on my face. I could feel His love filling the room like a heavy, warm blanket."

Kim goes on to share how desperately she “wanted to put words to what was happening in the room” and how what flew out of her mouth was completely unexpected (the complete video, found here, is worth watching). That’s often how it is when the Holy Spirit moves, isn’t it? When He gives us the words, whether as worshippers, intercessors, prophesiers, or writers, we know it’s from Him.

For various reasons my life hasn’t really been my own for the last couple of years. The question is, should it be? If I belong to Him, and I do, then my life is His and should have been His from that initial moment of surrender. But just like my writing (when I get a chance to do it), I am a work in progress. And so are you. And so are the authors and pastors we both admire.

As I’ve been growing as a worshipper this year, God keeps bringing songs to my mind unbidden. This morning it was this one: Holy Spirit, another Jesus Culture song. Coincidence? I think not.

For more about Susan Barclay and her writing, please visit www.susan-barclay.blogspot.com


  1. Amen, dear Susan to it being a long two years. I don't blame you for skipping that prompt. The pandemic squashed one of my writing ideas. But in the compost of my lost plans, another more important one (in the eyes of God) sprouted and produced fruit. Nothing can stop the move of Holy Spirit.
    I love this saying you quoted: "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
    I believe the dreaded C.... was used to prepare many pupils for the Spirit's curriculum.
    God's plans are more powerful than any pandemic could ever be.
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Wendy. I love the way you phrase it - "in the compost of my lost plans..." And I agree, nothing can stop the move of Holy Spirit, amen.

  2. So many things jumped out at me from this post, Susan. I love how the Holy Spirit surprises us and never leaves us - even when we don't know what we don't know!! One of Kim Walker Smith's songs was pivotal for me a few years ago after my heart surgery. The Holy Spirit introduced me to the song a couple of months earlier (Unstoppable Love) and I began listening to the live version a lot, which is very powerful. (Some of those 'words' that flew out of Kim's mouth, as you mentioned.) It became my "go to " song as I lay in hospital and later when I couldn't do much. finally, I love the verse from John where Jesus tells them he must go but that HS would come... Thanks for a great post.

    1. I'm so glad this post spoke to you, Tracy. I'm not familiar with Unstoppable Love and will definitely give it a listen. I love finding new songs. I'm about 40% of the way through Kim's book right now and can say it's worth reading if you have any interest in memoir.

  3. So much to consider here. Wow. Many times it seems we need to face a challenge and quiet our busyness to hear, or maybe I should say, to listen to what God would say to us. An inspiring post that leads me to think. Thanks from a fellow work in progress.

    1. I appreciate your reflections, Sharon. Thank you for sharing.

  4. What an inspiring post, Susan! There were so many valuable resources. I must listen to the unfamiliar songs and read Kim's book!

    1. Awesome, Sandi! You won't regret reading the book or listening to the songs. Anyone who doubts God's love or that Jesus is personal will be blown away by Kim's story.

  5. I love this saying you mentioned: "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." I'm so grateful for His infinite patience as He waits until we're finally ready.

    During the lockdowns, I had the joyful opportunity to visit Westminster Abbey's Sunday services. All the way from London England I could participate from my own home. I have found it beautiful to have such interesting opportunities during this global upheaval. Thank you for sharing your heart, Susan.

    1. It's been an unusual time with unusual opportunities, Brenda. No matter what's going on around us, we can still find good when we look for it.

      I can imagine the services at Westminster Abbey were incredibly beautiful, perhaps especially the worship, given those phenomenal acoustics. Thank you for sharing!


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