About 12 years ago, at a small group meeting in Springfield, a cassette tape showed up in our diaper bag. It was a recording of the speaker at the church's 4th anniversary celebration a few years earlier. I asked around everywhere and never figured out where it came from, but I ultimately came to believe that an angel dropped it in there, because it has touched my life in so many ways over the years.
The speaker was Doug Oss and he was sharing about his then-recent calling to start a church in Salt Lake City. He was a down-to-earth guy, very suspicious of anything that even appears spiritually "flaky" or put-on. But he described passionately the miraculous ways the Spirit had supernaturally manifested himself to him and prepared him for this adventure. Charismatic stuff -- stuff that, before it happened to him, he would have doubted still happens at all.
I was listening to the tape again yesterday while driving back from an appointment in Omaha. What spoke to me most this time was his description of a totally unexpected moment of "cleansing by the Spirit". A couple of his students after class said they had been prompted to stay and pray for him, and as they did, the Spirit filled the room and began to clean him out -- getting rid of anything "not of God". He said it was so amazing, he thought he was going to go right on to Glory.
I'm envious. I don't know if that's wrong of me or not, but I want an experience like that. A cleansing of the soul. To get rid of memories laden with pain that still cripple me. To get rid of stagnant patterns of thinking that bind me. To get rid of old sins that have been recognized, named, and repented of over and over, but whose fragrances still linger and pollute my life. I need a spiritual roto rooter.
Like Oss, I'm suspicious of the experience even as I long for it. I have no doubt that God can do such things . . . but I'm doubtful that he actually does. But scripture tells us that we do not have because we do not ask. So, okay -- I'll ask. Worst I can get out of it is a no, right? And -- how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him . . . ?