My family was visiting a church with some friends. These friends had specifically invited us because we were starting a church plant with them. Essentially, our little group was the “guest of honor” that day.
This South Texas church was filled with the Spirit of God. By the time worship got underway, God’s presence was thick.
Then. It. Happened.
I felt the Heavens above me open up and its light shining down on me.
In an instant, I knew God wanted me to speak in tongues. I know some of you may not believe in speaking in tongues. That’s fine. But I do.
I hold scripture in HIGH regard. I’ve always been a little uneasy when people start shouting out in tongues without interpretation mid-service. I’m not saying it’s not a God-thing. But from what I’ve read in the Bible, everything has a place and an order.
I NEVER want to be out of order.
But I just knew that God was asking me to speak a word in tongues. He was asking me to do it in faith.
I wanted to. I really did. But I couldn’t.
“I’m so sorry, Lord. Please don’t ask this of me! You know I want to, but I can’t. I just don’t have the faith.”
This one-way conversation went on until the entire worship service ended (which was the LONGEST instrumental session I’ve ever experienced!!!!). The music faded and the main pastor got up to speak. And just as quickly as it had opened, the window of Heaven closed and the light I felt shining down left. I knew God wasn’t mad. I didn’t feel his anger. I felt his understanding and love. Like a true gentleman, he didn’t force his will upon me.
But in the weeks that passed, my regret for not acting out in faith and obedience grew.
What would have happened if I had done this thing? Would someone have gotten saved? Where is that person now? Would someone have been greatly encouraged? Would the church have praised God in a new and mighty way?
My regret is because – I WILL NEVER KNOW. I will never know that story of redemption or praise or glory.
Some blessings are for that moment only.
One time, I saw something I really wanted on the side of the road. I’m a total “dumpster diver”. But I thought, “I’ll get it on the way back home.” Problem was that by the time I came back home, someone else had already swiped it!
But just like the item on the side of the road, the moment in that South Texas church was gone. Never to be returned.
So, why didn’t I do it?
Probably fear. Fear of being “out of order” with the Bible. Or more truthfully…maybe fear of being “out of order” with Bible scholars. Not those who are truly trying to decipher God’s will…but those who THINK THEY HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT!
I’m scared of them. Because they are mean. They seem to hate everyone who is famous for preaching the gospel. They pick apart every pastor and claim it to be “seeking out the apostate” among us. All the while they are dividing the church.
And I was scared because I didn’t know the protocol. I had questions:
- How does one go about speaking in tongues in a church?
- Do you have to KNOW there is an interpretator present in order to speak in tongues?
- Do you have to be a member? The church we were attending wasn’t MY church.
- What if the church doesn’t believe in the gift of tongues?
- When was the “right” time to do such a thing?
The questions are endless. They may or may not have answers. I have my theories based on what I know from the Bible.
How Regret Shaped Me
We’ve all experienced that little voice telling us to do something. When we don’t, we can regret it. What can you do when you’ve ignored the Holy Spirit?
Whatever it was that stopped me from complying with God’s leading, my regret has shaped me. My regret has taught me that:
Fear holds us back, but faith pushes us forward.
Maybe one day, God will redeem this moment. He’s definitely used it to shape me for the next time. Next time, I won’t hesitate. But what if there is never a next time? I can only hope that there is.
What fear are you letting hold you back from God’s amazing work in your life?
I challenge you to live a life without regret.
Next time you feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit allow the lesson of your past regrets to push you out into faith.
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