One day a lawyer named Charles Finney took a walk in a forest, set on giving himself over to God. It was there that he was suddenly overcome with conviction for his sin and repented. After what he thought had been a short time, he headed to his office, but found that it was already dinner time and his co-worker had left. Being alone, Finney grabbed an instrument and played a few hymns, weeping while he did so. He felt as though he was face to face with Jesus. After some time, he got up and went into his front office where a fire was about to go out. That’s when it happened.
…as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love; for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. I can recollect distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings.Charles G. Finney (Memoirs of Rev. Charles G. Finney, page 20)
From this moment on, Finney would go on to become one of the great revivalists of the 1800’s. Finney is not alone as many leaders God has raised up throughout the ages have such stories—including leaders in the Bible, though we often forget because we’ve heard their stories so much that they’ve become normal to us.
Take Moses for example. While he was a bit resistant to God’s call at first, there’s no doubt that talking to the Angel of the Lord in a burning bush on sacred ground certainly changed the direction of his life. From being nearly aborted, to growing up in the royal household, to becoming a criminal and outcast, Moses’ life was all over the place. But then God met him and called him to follow him, changing everything. What’s your testimony?
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Acts 7:30-43 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net.