In my younger years, I spent my summers counseling summer church camps. It was a blast. At the end of each week we closed out camp with a dance. Also a blast. It was great, the kids had spent the week getting to know each other and by the end of the week they had let go of their cool kid facades (at least mostly) and were ready to have a good time goofing off. We broke out the classic moves– the lawnmower, the sprinkler, the running man– and we made up some of our own. We just spent hours jumping around and having a great time. Every once in a while a slow song would come on. Most of the kids would migrate to the margins and catch their breath or head for a quick drink of water. But there were some who were brave enough to actually partner up with a person of the opposite sex and attempt the awkward middle school slow dance. And then the counselors sprung into action. Most of the kids had the standard stance of keeping each other at an arms length away, but others seemed to be testing the adolescent waters and moved in for a closer embrace. That is when we shined. We would bounce around from couple to couple saying “keep room for the Holy Spirit”, making sure that things didn’t get too serious.
This week Brandon and I started working our way through the book of Acts together. We are starting a new church, so it seems reasonable to ground ourselves in the stories and events of the first charged with the task. In the first chapter the disciples ask Jesus if now is the time. It makes sense. Jesus was crucified and everything had been a mess and it seemed that everything they had hoped for was gone. But then it wasn’t. He came back. He triumphed over death and he was there, in their midst– everything was good again. Not just good, it was all clear now, Jesus was going to change everything. So that change was going to happen now right, like right now right now– right?!?
Maybe I am sympathetic with the disciples because I seem to be asking God the same question daily–“So this new church, you are going to make that happen today right? All of it, like right now.”
So I get it.
The disciples and I seem to have a different timeline in mind than the one that Jesus is operating with. His response is basically to hold their horses. He tells them that it is God’s job to know the timeline, there job is just to take the next step– wait for the Holy Spirit.
As Brandon and I read these words, it was as if they were directed to me (Brandon is the patient one in our relationship). As if someone was whispering in my ear the old line from my church camp days “Make room for the Holy Spirit.”
It is natural for us to want to know all of the details, to have control each step of the way. That is our way, that is not God’s way– my experience is that God’s way is always better. The Spirit moves and works in and through our efforts, but if we hyper schedule or hold on to each detail of the journey, we don’t leave enough room for the Spirit to create, inspire, or to mix things up.
I know God is more than capable of doing amazing things in this world and in my life, I have seen it, I have lived it. I am doing my best in this moment, to step back and make room for the Holy Spirit. Do you need to as well?