Recently, while being inundated with images of the Russian invasion on TV, I felt compelled to cry out to God to rescue the people of Ukraine. In a world where we are so powerless, we have one who is far stronger than even the worst of our enemies. So whenever I find evil triumphing, I try to remember that God is just waiting to hear from me. As I prayed, I became keenly aware of the words that I was hearing with my ears. They were words that didn’t sound like my words at all, but rather like I was listening to someone else. I knew in my heart, that the Holy Spirit was intervening for me, and that God was listening to every word coming from my lips.
I too was listening. My heart—which only moments before was overly anxious—was now strangely calm. I felt a confidence that God indeed was in complete control. Oftentimes when we experience chaos and futility surrounding us, we assume that God is absent from the scene, But that is never the case. He is always nearby and continues to control all things, whether good or bad, and whether we feel it or not.
As the Spirit continued to pray through me, He didn’t use an ecstatic language as some might think; His words were the same English I would have used had it been me crafting the words. His voice sounded like mine, only my brain wasn’t registering the thoughts until I actually heard them with my external ears. I do believe the prayer I heard that day was the most unselfish prayer I’ve ever prayed. It was highly emotional, filled with praise for almighty God and His amazing works, and had an exaggerated sense of urgency beseeching God to come to the rescue of the people of Ukraine. God listened.
In Psalm 22:3 (KJV), we read: “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Yes, God inhabits the praises of His people. So when we praise God, as I so fervently did that day, we walk directly into His presence. When those war-torn images of Mariupol Ukraine cried out to me from the TV screen, I prayed from the heart and entered immediately into the throne room of God. And there, I was enveloped in His love.
As much as we would like to enjoy such close encounters with God every single day of our lives, our sins get in the way. Yet it remains for us as the goal of our salvation: to one day be perfect as He is perfect—holy as He is holy—and lacking in nothing. When that happens, every moment will be an encounter of the deepest kind. This is His desire for us.