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I had an experience at the TAV Healing School where I got a very good understanding of what it was to grieve the Holy Spirit. This occurred during the Saturday night session, which was the last night of the conference.
Earlier during the conference, the Lord had released an incredible dance anointing on a few of us, including yours truely. For instance, on Thursday night I had danced every song and had not even get tired. There was a grace and an anointing on each and every move I made and each dance was a pure act of worship. The Lord had chosen to fall on three of us who were behind the stage during worship. We ended up doing what looked like a chorographed number. From time to time, I was aware of the other two dancers and often would notice that they were doing complimentary movements to mine, or I was doing the same gestures as theirs etc. Most of the time I was dancing with my eyes closed and my attention focused on the Lord. It was an incredible time of worship and there had been such an intense anointing on the three of us. Each time I would flick my eyes open, I would see that the three of us were dancing in unity and harmony. The Lord was all over us. It was incredible. After worship, the three of us ended up comparing notes and found we'd all been experiencing the same sense of unity between each other as we danced/worshipped. We even prayed briefly for each other and two of us ended up spending over half of the sermon on the floor shaking and laughing in harmony under the anointing. God anointed our dance, tied us together in unity and then blessed us together after the worship/dance portion of the evening was over.
Well, I wanted to dance like that before the Lord again on Saturday night. (I don't mean that I wanted to connect with other dancers. What I wanted was to be in that place of worship and anointing.) So I went back stage and took off my shoes. And when the worship started, I began to dance. The Lord's presense was there, but it was not at all the same. It was much more crowded on Saturday night (being a weekend and all). Many people came and stood behind the stage for worship, which left a lot less room to dance in. I decided to be content with dancing in a very small area, but felt somewhat frustrated. It was too crowded to dance properly and also I did not feel the Lord's anointing on me as I had before. I had more of an awareness of the dance movements I was doing and had to keep track of where people were around me so I would not step on them. The dance and worship were not as spontaneous as I wanted them to be.
I had a sense that the Lord was not particularly pleased with my dance that night. (When I had danced on Thursday, there had been an intense sense of His pleasure.) But that sense of His pleasure was not there on Saturday night. I knew I was forcing it instead of doing what God was doing. I had a feeling that maybe I should stop dancing and just stand there and worship. But something inside of me felt "pressed" to dance. I just kept striving to make it better. Only it was getting worse instead. About then a group of three people stepped into the tiny space I was dancing in. They were three college age girls and they closed their eyes and started to worship the Lord. I felt somewhat offended that they had occupied my tiny dance space and had "no consideration" for my dancing -- closing off the tiny space I was using. So I decided to "fight" for my space. I continued dancing (really just moving my arms at this point because there was not any room to move my feet), even though they were occupying the space I was trying to use. At this point my motives were not pure -- I was not worshipping the Lord, I was "fighting for my tiny space." I allowed my arms to lightly hit the college girl who was directly infront of me as I continued my dance motions. The first time I did it, it distracted her from worship and she looked around and then tried to fall back into worship.
I tried to fall back into worship too, but to no avail. I clearly heard the Lord tell me to stop dancing and go sit down.
"Ok, Lord," I said, "as soon as this song is over I will stop dancing and go sit down. But let me finish this song so I don't loose face."
"You are not worshipping Me and you are not pleasing Me. Go sit down."
"Lord," I begged, just let me finish this song. I was concerend about what the people around me would think if I stopped in the middle. I don't know why I was concerend about that -- most everyone was worshipping with their eyes closed anyhow. But for some reason it was very important to me NOT to "loose face" over this. (I don't that that my losing or not losing face was a particularly high priority to the Lord at the moment. But I was being disruptive to the worship and this did not please Him. My motives at that moment did not please Him either.)
I noticed that the song was going on forever. It really should have ended by now. But it just kept going on and on. I started wishing the song would end so I could go sit down, but it just kept going and going and going.
I bumped the girl again, intentionally. I hoped she'd move and give me a little my space as I continued my (now compulsive) dance. She did move, but she turned and gave me a very hurt/troubled look. I knew I'd runied the worship for her. My heart sort of broke, but I kept trying to force that stupid rebellious dance, really wishing the song would end so that I could go sit down. I have no idea what was driving me at this point, but I know that it was NOT the Holy Spirit. I knew He wanted me to stop dancing. Not only was I not in a spirit of worship myself, I was disrputing other's worship and this certainly did not please the Lord. He had spoken very clearly to me and I knew I was in rebellion. Why was I still trying to force this stupid dance? And why wouldn't that song ever end?
"This is the last time I am going to ask you, Teresa. Stop dancing and go sit down."
I knew the song would be over any minute now -- it had to end. How could it still be going. I had every intention of stopping as soon as the song was over...
Suddenly I was overcome with an intense wave of grief. It was not anger. It was not pain. It was grief. It was overwhelming.
"This is how you have made me feel by your rebellion and disobedience."
Ouch! I stopped dancing immediately. I had caused God to feel that way? I had hurt God?
I grabbed my shoes from under the stage and sat down to put them on. I could feel a silent tear welding up in my eyes. "Oh, Lord," I prayed. I am so sorry. I did not mean to cause You pain. My intent at the beginning of the evening was to cause You pleasure."
As soon as I had my shoes on, I bee-lined to my seat. I was still so overwhelmed in that sense of grief. It was the most horrible feeling in the world. I found myself begging the Lord to forgive me. I knew He had forgiven me, but I still sensed His grief. I knew that it was intentional willful disobedience that had caused Him that grief. I found myself resolving to NEVER do that again. "Next time I want to simply stop when He tells me to, even if I'm in the middle of something, even if other people would thing I was weird". I wanted to obey instantly when He brought correction. Even as I made this resolution, I realized that there was no way I would ever be able to keep this under my own power/initiative. So I prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to really help me to keep this resolution.
I knew I was restored with the Lord, but I still felt that sense of grief. I started to think that it probably meant the Lord would pass me by when it came to ministry time as a punishment.
"No, Teresa, I will not do that to you." He answered my unspoken question. "But I am going to give you a good dose of sensing My grief NOW, so that next time you will think twice about causing Me to feel this way through willful, intentional disobedience."
The worship ended but the sense of what grieving the Holy Spirit felt like did not go away. The testamonies came and went, but that sense of His grief remained.
"Never again." I told myself. "Never again will I care more about saving face than about obeying the Lord."
The sermon started, but that sense of grief remained. In fact, it was one of the most horrible periods of my life. The intensity of the grief was still on me and I knew that my disobedience and rebellion had caused the God who I loved more than anything else to feel this way. The odd part was that there was still a sense of His presense -- He did not withdraw His presense from me. (If He had, maybe that overwhelming sense of grief would have gone too.) He did not show me any anger and He did not threaten to punish me. I knew I had hurt Him deeply and that was worse than any punishment. In fact, I think that punishment would have made me feel better. I did not like hurting Him like that! I did not want to do it again! The scary part was that I knew my nature and knew that I probably would do it again.
That thought started a flood of prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to help me have a humble and teachable heart before Him. I found myself asking Him for a special grace to escape that rebellous streak next time it reared up it's ugly head. I found myself asking Him to help me to stop dead in my tracks next time my rebellion was about to grieve Him.
I was not sure that this horrible sense of His grief would ever end. I sort of wished He'd judge me or punish me or something and bring some sort of closure to it. I wanted this experience to be over. Yet in a strange way I felt close to Him as I went through this experience. He did not withdraw that sense of intimacy.
Finally, near the end of the sermon, the sense of His grief began to ease off.
"Teresa, I still love you very much. I will never stop loving you, even when you grieve Me. But I want you to purpose in your heart to obey Me. I want you to detest the thought of intentionally grieving Me again. But know that if you do grieve Me again, I will NOT stop loving you. I will not withdraw My fellowship from you. I will not cast you away or disqualify you. But the better way is to obey Me and to not grieve Me."
I cannot tell you how much my heart melted. I still felt very solemn, but I also felt hope. I prayed that prayer one last time, asking the Holy Spirit to help me stop dead in my tracks next time I was being rebellious and He was trying to correct me. I asked Him to help me become teachable and obedient.
They had an unusual alter call which I thought was for salvation, but about 50% of the people in the room responded, including most of the ministry team. At the end John Arnott took the microphone and told us to pray for each other instead of having a formal minsitry time. That meant no ministry time. In a way I felt disappointed and wondered if maybe He really was going to withhold His blessings from be because of my disobedience earlier that evening.
I still felt very solemn after service and made my way over to the ministry team section (the front few rows) where Ron and Sigrid (my ride home) were sitting. But they were busy praying for people, so I had to wait. As it turned out, Wayne and Evelyn were in the same area that I was waiting. Wayne came over to pray for me. I was sort of leary, figuring that God was punishing me and nothing would happen. But the Lord spoke to me again and said, "I have taught you what it means to greive me. I have etched this lesson deep into your being. Now the lesson is over. Enter into my joy."
Suddenly a wave of joy hit me and I started laughing and laughing. I started laughing so hard that I could not stand up. Even when Wayne stopped praying for me, I could not stop laughing and I could not get up. I felt His joy wash away all that pain. The memory of it and the lesson I'd learned remained, but the pain (or grief) itself was gone. Now it was a delight to be in His presense.
Then a strange thing started happening. I was in an asile (a main through-way). Folks were stepping over me to get by. As they'd do so, I'd sort of make splashing motions at them as they passed. And they'd drop to the ground and start laughing. It got to be incredibly powerful in that area. God was pouring out His spirit on me and He was pouring it out on everyone around me. At one point Wayne got my attention to try and introduce me to Linda Herbert and her husband. Linda went down and then I shook her husband's hand. I was still laying on the floor and he was bending down over me. The next thing I knew, he was on the floor too, laughing and laughing. A little later that evening he told me that this was the first time something like that had ever happened to him.
Anyhow, folks would continue passing through the asile where we were, and they would continue falling down as they passed and becoming a laughing heap on the floor. His joy was so abundant that I could not contain it and neither could those around me. (Not everyone who passed us went down, but many did.) God was incredible. It was like a baptism of joy to wash away the grief I'd felt earlier.
Then the Lord reminded me how He had promised me that He would not withhold His anointing/blessing during the "ministry time" as a punishment for my earlier rebellion. And He certainly had not withheld it.
I learned a very important lesson that evening -- in fact the Lord engraved it deep into my spirit. I now have a real sense of what it means to grieve the Holy Spirit. I have a real sense of what His grief feels like and I hope I never have to cause it or to sense it again. He was not angry with me so much as He was hurt by me. And I don't want to ever intentionally hurt Him again.
Lord, give me a heart to obey You. Give me a heart to be instantly submissive to Your correction instead of rebelling against You. Give me a heart after Your own heart!
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