This past November, my youngest son Tyler and I traveled to North Carolina to visit my middle son and his family for Thanksgiving. I had not seen my grandson Hank since he was a couple of months old, and he was turning one on Thanksgiving Day. I could not wait to hold him, squeeze him, and layer on some Meme kisses.
When we arrived, Tyler and I made our way through the front door and then, finally, we were face-to-face with precious little Hank. Grandmother Gini was holding him. She came close to pass him to me, but Hank held on tight to her. I totally understood. Hank had not seen me in so long—he had only heard my voice over the computer and phone. He knew me only from a distance.
I realized that I had to allow Hank to warm up to me, at his pace. He had to get to know and trust his Meme Cubbedge from Florida.
The next morning, we got on the floor with Hank and played with his toys. Tyler and I had so much fun watching him crawl around and pick out certain toys that made noise or played music. Little by little, Hank began to relax and enjoy Meme and Uncle Tyler. Before long, I was feeding him, changing his diapers, reading books to him, and even rocking him when he was ready for a nap.
Before he went off to sleep, I laid Hank down in his crib, closed his bedroom door, and went downstairs. My middle son, Clint, and his wife, Lindsey, have one of those baby monitors with night vision so they can watch Hank while he sleeps. Watching him from the kitchen, I could see every move he made. He jibber-jabbered and tossed and turned until he found his comfortable spot and fell into a deep sleep. It was precious.
I’ve realized recently that the Lord used my little grandson to teach me something about my relationship with my heavenly Father.
He reminded me of how I’d had to be so very easy around Hank. I couldn’t force him to let me hold him. Even though Hank is my grandson, part of my bloodline, this didn’t make him trust me.
Hank had seen pictures of me and heard my voice on the phone. He’d even heard my name mentioned over and over. But we hadn’t spent time together. It wasn’t until we did that our relationship began to flourish. In fact, the only way any of us can come to know and trust someone is by spending time—real time, focused time—with that person.
The Holy Spirit reminded me that, just like Hank, I needed to go through a process of getting to know and trust Him too. God patiently waited for me to cry out to Him. He never pushed Himself on me, but He was always watching, ready to draw me close. Just like I watched baby Hank, God watches me closely too, waiting for me to cry out to Him. And when I do, He comes to my rescue. He picks me up, loves on me, and helps me grow.
I invited Jesus into my heart at a Billy Graham Crusade when I was ten years old. I knew something happened inside of me as I responded to the invitation to accept Christ. That day in January of 1961, I became what the Bible refers to as “born again” (See John 3:3–8). But, like Hank, I was an infant…a baby in my faith.
I started going to church and reading the Bible, but getting to know and trust God wasn’t a priority in my life. I went through the routine for a while but eventually stopped going to church and reading my Bible altogether. Sure, I still believed in God, but He wasn’t first in my life. He wasn’t even second or third. Honestly, He wasn’t important to me for many years, and it breaks my heart to even say that.
After I graduated from high school, I pursued other things, and I left God out of all of it. I wasn’t doing bad things—I was spending my time being a wife and a mama, working and playing softball—but in my busyness, I neglected to nurture my faith walk.
Praise God for my praying mama! I’m certain that because of her faithful prayers, I began want to attend church again and to draw closer to God. (Mothers and fathers, don’t give up praying for and setting an example of faith for your kids. They will come home to God.)
I began to draw close to Him through studying His Word on my own, going to church, attending Bible studies, praying, and watching the faithful lives of others like my mother and grandparents. All those things helped me know God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit better…and I learned to trust Him.
Our heavenly Father can be trusted. You just have to get to know Him. You have to study His Word. There’s no way around it. The more you know the Word, the more you will know God and Jesus. After all, John 1:1 tells us Jesus is the Word. Did you know the Lord has given us someone very special to help us understand the Word of God? He is the Holy Spirit. (See John 14:16–17.)
Many people know about God the Father and His Son, Jesus, but they often ignore the person of the Holy Spirit and forfeit all He has to offer. For so long I, like many other believers, thought of the Holy Spirit merely as a heavenly influence, a kind of breeze, floating in and out of my life.
The reality is that the Holy Spirit is God, and He lives in us, equal with the Father and the Son (1 Corinthians 3:16–17). Jesus Christ Himself depended fully on the Holy Spirit while on this earth; how much more should we? It was in the power of the Spirit that Jesus preached (Luke 4:14), prayed (Luke 10:21), and forgave those who killed Him (Luke 23:34). And it was through the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus brought healing into people’s lives (Luke 5:17).
I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit’s role in my life. He teaches me how to live a Christian life and helps me become more like Jesus. The Holy Spirit is my Source of wisdom, power, and strength. He is my Comforter, Counselor, and Help. He guides me into all truth. He fills me with joy and peace, even in the most trying circumstances. The Holy Spirit unveils God’s Word to me and helps me know the will of God and His voice, as well as the love of His Son. He teaches me from the inside out because He lives within me, just as He does every believer. (See John 14–16.)
We fight far more battles than we need to, simply because we ignore the person and power of the Holy Spirit; we leave Him out of our lives. We try to solve things with our own ideas or strategies without asking the Holy Spirit for His wisdom and His strategies. And we struggle to trust Him. Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.” We need the help of the Holy Spirit to accomplish anything worthwhile on this earth.
The Holy Spirit will also help us mature spiritually, so we can stand strong in this world. Galatians 5:16–17 from The Passion Translation says, “As you yield freely and fully to the dynamic life and power of the Holy Spirit, you will abandon the cravings of your self-life. For your self-life craves the things that offend the Holy Spirit and hinder him from living free within you. And the Holy Spirit’s intense cravings hinder your old self-life from dominating you.” The Holy Spirit empowers us to live out a victorious life of faith.
Are you tired of trying to live for Jesus but falling into the same old traps of defeat? Get to know the Holy Spirit. A person who knows the presence of the Holy Spirit will always glorify and magnify the Lord Jesus Christ.
You can begin today to walk in close communion and fellowship with the Greater One within you. He will develop the fruit of His Spirit that abides in you—things like love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23). He will make you a new person.
Many seek the gifts of the Spirit, yet fail to seek the Giver of these gifts. When you and I purpose to talk with the Holy Spirit, when we ask Him to tell us more about Jesus, He will. Your love for the Lord Jesus Christ and your heavenly Father will deepen and, even greater than that, you will trust that God loves you and He is for you, not against you. And you will long for Him more and more. Just like Meme longs for Hank.
Like the hymn writer, Daniel Iverson, I pray that the Spirit of the living God will fall fresh on me every day. I pray that for you, as well. “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14).
Does this story strike a chord for you? Read the entire May 2018 issue here.
Written by Linda Cubbedge
Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem