Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. (Acts 14:3, NKJV)
Have you ever been overwhelmed by the presence of the Lord? The Bible speaks of many times and many people being physically overcome by His presence. The Lord grants to us signs and wonders to exalt His word of grace. His glorious presence declares to us His wonderful name and the greatness of His power. Jonathan and Sarah Edwards often spoke of being swallowed up in God. What a great place to be—totally submerged into His essence and goodness. Seeing and experiencing the miraculous manifestation of His grace through signs and wonders and His overwhelming presence. At times He comes in as a gentle whisper, and at other times like a heavy cloud full of showers of mercy. At times He comes as a calming breeze, and at other times like rushing wind.
As I’m writing, I’m reflecting on the amazing time in the presence of the Lord tonight in our church. As the singing was closing tonight, it was as if the heavy, rain filled clouds of His glory descended upon us. The brightness of His radiance as the unencumbered noon day sun was shining with brilliance, even though the cloud of His glory was upon us. How diversely excellent that the cloud of His glory would fill the room, and yet simultaneously His brightness would be so immense.
I was overcome, caught up in the Spirit. It was if I could hear the spiritual songs of heaven and the joyful singing around the city of God. In the natural, our worship leader had stopped singing and playing, but in the spirit I, and those present had stepped into a heavenly world where God was revealing Himself. At one moment it was as if the veil between the natural world and the heavenly world became so thin, and not only were the sounds of heaven perceived spiritually, but heard with our own ears. Myself and others began to hear the heavenly music and heavenly choirs singing and playing around us. It was distinct and noticeable singing and a melodious heavenly music. Several were overcome with joy and laughter, others fell to the ground under His mighty presence. Still others found themselves sinking lower and lower to the ground as His glory and Heavenly chorus filled the room. Multiple were instantly healed of various ailments. Later in the service, I asked if others had heard the sounds. Many raised their hands and spoke of hearing angelic singing and music, each describing the heavenly sound. Others reported also feeling the intensity of His radiant beams shining upon us. Even the sound operator was reporting how he was confused by the music, trying to identify where it was coming from in the sound system—thinking it might be something left on mistakenly—and yet he could find no source. How wonderfully He came and ministered to the hungry hearts and gave fresh bread and water to those who would receive Him tonight.
It had been my plan to share a pre-planned excerpt about Maria Woodworth-Etter’s ministry this evening, as we had been studying revival history. As God would have it, His orchestration of the service was quite overwhelming, leaving us in awe and incapable of doing anything but joining with the heavenly choir in worship. As the Spirit permitted, I was able to read this excerpt later in the service. It was as if God decided to illustrate the wonderful graces of His presence Himself, and the excerpt I was to read became just the added blessing. God truly demonstrated for us the reality of this excerpt regarding the signs and wonders of His grace. Here’s the passage from Maria Woodworth-Etter’s book “Signs and Wonders:”
The heavenly choir was glorious. It was if heaven had come down and the angelic choir had joined in with the redeemed of the Lord, having many invisible instruments. The large platform was filled with baptized saints, with their bright faces looking up to God, holding up holy hands. Bright lights were often seen over them. Jesus was seen by many of them standing or walking in their midst. Musical instruments (spiritual) were heard away back to the rear of the tent. A thousand or more were present. A holy stillness and a spirit of awe settled over the audience; they knew that God was in the midst. Two or three different times I asked the people to answer me honestly, in the fear of God, if they heard different instruments of music from the platform. The sounds were not given on instruments but by the Spirit. I knew they had heard it. I asked all who had heard the heavenly music or instruments to rise in the presence of God. Men and women rose up here and there, clear to the back of the tent. The prophet said God would in these last days bring heaven down to validate His Word. He would visit us with celestial fireworks like on the Day of Pentecost. They would see, hear, and feel the Holy Spirit work His work, His strange work. Once, when the power of God was wonderfully present, I heard a sister’s music; looking round I saw a sister (an evangelist) with eyes uplifted to heaven, her face shining, playing the harp in the Spirit. She said the glory of the Lord covered her, and the Lord placed a golden harp in her hands. Her fingers began to play, bringing forth the heavenly sound. Several others were playing on different instruments, sending out heavenly music.
We worship God, not the experience. But He gives us the experience that we might, as Paul said, discover the depths and riches of His love more fully. This knowing is not by understanding of a truth only, but having divine revelation by experience that God is love. These signs and wonders declare the greatness of His love through principle, and through experience. Truly, this is what the hungry heart is looking for. To those who are hungry and thirsty, principle alone will not satisfy. Knowing food and drink is sufficient to satisfy is not the same as being satisfied. To those who are hungry and thirsty, they must eat and drink ‘til they are full. Jesus graciously invites us to feast on Him, our bread and living water. Tonight, was another reflection on and opportunity to indulge in the great feast prepared in our wilderness.