In this article
- When sushi dinner becomes Divine contentment
- When we might expect God's presence
- The ways God is showing up, right now
We often expect God to show up in demonstrative ways and obvious places: parted seas, miraculous healings, the disembodied voice of Morgan Freeman. The Holy Spirit often moves in our lives in much more subtle ways. And if we practice a bit of awareness and directed attention, we’ll surely witness the just-as-amazing ways that God disrupts our day-to-day lives with something meaningful—and holy.
After a day of house hunting, my family and I decided to call it a day and go get dinner. We decided to go to this fairly new all-you-can-eat sushi place near our city.
It turns out, our eyes were much bigger than our stomachs because we ordered a whole mess of rolls. So much so, our food was brought upon a wooden boat that was as large as our table.
We were hungry. So we got to eating.
I was getting full when I noticed that there were still a lot of rolls left on that boat. Now, this restaurant has a policy that if you have leftovers they will charge you like a dollar per left over sushi. There was no way we were going to get fined for our leftovers so we trudged on. After what felt like an eternity of force feeding myself, there were still a lot of rolls left.
Now, I know that I am not shining the kindest of lights on us.
The excess. The waste.
I know, I know.
I heard my mom’s voice in my head with every forced bite, “You know, there are children (insert any country in the world) who would love to have just what you’re complaining about.”But hold your judgement... because it gets worse.
I started slowly (and stealthily) stuffing napkins full of sushi in my pockets (I told you — the story gets worse). I looked up to make sure that my wife wasn’t catching on to my actions when I saw her doing the exact same thing. Our eyes locked and we immediately just started laughing hard. I was laughing so hard that not only did I have a hard time catching my breath, but I could feel the sushi rice trying to force it’s way back up to my mouth. My wife and I were doubled over laughing and my son just started laughing because his parents were laughing hard.
When the laughing fit subsided, I felt full. Not just physically — because in that sense, I felt too full. But my soul and heart were full.
As if I was having some sort of out-of-body experience, I just saw the three of us sitting at this table (we long had given up in trying to hide our gluttony) and this overwhelming sense of how blessed I was washed over me. What more could I ask for (except to go back in time and order less sushi)? I was truly and deeply blessed.
It was such an ordinary moment — but yet so profound. I couldn’t shake the feeling that surely the presence of the Lord was in this moment and place.
When can we expect God's presence?
That’s one of the most frustrating things about God’s spirit. We always expect God to show up in demonstrative and obvious places. We look for the loud and in-your-face type of spots for God because we’re expecting God to make a grand entrance to announce God’s presence.
We tend to look for God in the mighty winds; the raging fires; or the thunderous earthquakes but much like Elijah (1 King 19:11-13), we have to be present and focused to hear the “thin quiet” sound of God’s voice.
Yes, there are moments when, filled with the spirit, we witness miraculous and unexplainable things happen. But more often than not, the spirit-filled moments happen in the smallness, the ordinary, the daily rituals of our lives.
On that road to Emmaus, Jesus was fully revealed in the taking, blessing, breaking, and giving of the bread — over an ordinary meal. He was present in a not-so-extraordinary walk to the next city over.
Here’s the best news about this: you don’t have to be extraordinary or do supernatural stuff to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
That text you send to check up on a friend;
The meal you delivered to the family whose member is recovering from surgery;
The coffee you had while catching up with a good friend;
That lunch you ate with your colleagues;
And yes, the laughter that you shared at the sheer ridiculous sight of you and your partner trying to stuff sushi into your pockets — those are all Spirit-filled and holy moments.
The presence of the Lord is always all around us. Because when you make room for the Spirit, the Spirit comes. The real question is: are we aware? Are we paying attention? Are we present?
Joseph Yoo is the author When the Saints Go Flying in. He is a West Coaster at heart contently living in Houston, Texas with his wife and son. He serves at Mosaic Church in Houston. Find more of his writing at josephyoo.com.