Being Overcome by the Joy of the Spirit

Being Overcome
Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. ~Isaiah 35.10

I am generally not overly emotional about my faith. It’s deep and strong. It’s well thought out, and prayed over, and discussed. So when others have emotional reactions to prayer or preaching or even to taking Communion (which I take very seriously), I am not one that generally shares in their weeping.

That’s just not me. But no problem if it’s how others react. I am moved by their emotion. I respect it, have even envied it from time to time.

But there is one thing that does bring out the emotion in me, that makes me weep. In public, for all to see. Every time. Not just a tear shed out of the corner of my eye. I am talking about real sobbing.

Truly, I am weeping now just thinking about this.

I cry when I sing about being in the presence of God. Not the presence I feel when I know I am praying with the Spirit, or when I feel his peace. I am talking about being in the physical presence of God. Really there. With Him. In the throne room. With Jesus by his side. Angels singing like they did for the shepherds on Christmas morning.

Two songs do this to me.

The first, Jesus Paid it All by Kristian Stanfill:

And when before the throne I stand in Him complete
“Jesus died my soul to save” my lips shall still repeat.
Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

Oh my. It becomes all real and teary-fuzzy because I cannot imagine what love like this will feel like. Emotions? Geesh, what will not be emotional about this? It makes me ache.

Then there is the consummate tear-jerker for me, and many others: Mercy Me’s I Can Only Imagine. The whole song makes me a bit teary, but this verse more than any other. In the hundreds of times I have sang this song, I have yet to get through this verse without snotty sobbing speechlessness.

Surrounded by your glory
What will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of you be still?
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing hallelujah;
Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine. I can only imagine. 

It’s not just a quickening heartbeat. It’s a full throttle emotional reaction to what is coming. I am confident. I am sure. I know I will get to be there. This is true, emotional, physically-moving, anticipation.

Is the emotion, the overwhelming feels that I get, driven by my faith, by my fear, or by my desire for it be true? Or all of it! When I ponder this – after my tears have gone – I always come to the same place.

I believe my uncharacteristic reaction is very characteristic for the Holy Spirit, my comforter, my teacher, my guide and my friend. I believe it’s the Spirit within me celebrating what he already knows. He knows what a wonder it will be, because the Spirit will be, is, was totally a part of it.

The Spirit that resides in me is anticipating the party beyond parties. He loves me so much that he can’t wait either. So he is dancing for joy inside me, weeping for joy because all the struggling and confusion and pain will be gone.

When I am in the presence of God, the very real and present fruits of the Spirit will be front and center. The joy that brings tears, that overwhelms and overtakes, will be mine.

Oh my, what a glorious day that will be!

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Diane Karchner
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  1. Rebecca Preston on November 2, 2016 at 7:00 AM

    “I can only imagine” Yep. Same here.

  2. Jen on November 2, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    This is why I stopped wearing eye makeup to church. Todd used to carry a hanky for me, too, but now I keep tissues in my purse. It doesn’t matter how hard my heart is or how scattered my thoughts are when I show up, I can hardly get through the songs. An oldie for me is “How Great Thou Art”. “Then I shall bow, with humble adoration, and there proclaim, ‘My God! How great thou art!” Just typing it and my eyes are sweating and I get the chill bumps! So many, many songs to list, but I won’t.

    Thanks, Diane. I really, really loved this post!

  3. Gretchen on November 2, 2016 at 12:36 PM

    Stahhhp! (sniff, sniff). Yes, yes. To Diane’s songs, and Jen’s. My other is It is Well With My Soul.

    A long time ago, I noticed that I got goosebumps when singing these songs at church, especially if I was really worshiping God and there were only the 2 (or is it 4?) of us in the room. I told someone about this ‘phenomenon’ and she said it was likely the feels of the Holy Spirit.

    It’s so true that nothing compares.

  4. Diane Tarantini on November 29, 2016 at 12:16 PM

    Me too, Diane, me too! Music gets to me. Not every song, but a whole lot of them. Have you heard Rend Collective’s “Art of Celebration.” That’s one that really gets me!

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