“Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Luke 11:11-13
At the beginning of 1996 a group of leaders from the church I was at went to visit the revival in Toronto. Every one of us was dramatically touched by the Holy Spirit, but it all left me a little confused. People were shaking and falling, laughing and crying, and there was prophetic ministry as well as extravagant acts of worship that were more than I was used to.
Although I enjoyed the presence of the Holy Spirit, I questioned the Lord about the need His people have for safety. It was then that the Scripture above came to my mind.
I had gifts for my children in the car to bring home and surprise them with. They would be thrilled about the gifts even though they didn’t know what was in the packages. Their safety was not in knowing everything they were getting, but in who was giving it to them. They knew me, and they knew I would never give them anything that could hurt them. I knew they would close their eyes with smiles on their faces, and let me place the gifts in their laps. No fear at all, only anticipation for something good from their father. The Lord spoke clearly in my spirit, “You (church leadership) have sought to keep My people safe through control, and you’ve taken the surprise out of church.”
To me, the number one problem of the church in America is boredom. We are so scheduled and so concerned that everything runs efficiently, we can easily miss the interruption God may want to bring. God wants us to ask for the Holy Spirit again and again so that He can put fresh gifts in His children’s laps, reveal His great love, and draw hearts to intimacy. I believe God wants churches and lives that require more than man’s best effort. He wants us to always be looking for His surprises!