It’s vacation season. A time to get away, see some sights, take a few pictures, do something fun, and perhaps just relax somewhere along the way. I ran into a verse recently that reminded me about some of the various tour guides I’ve encountered while on vacation. The guide that steered us through a dark cave and explained the difference between a stalagmite and a stalactite. Another guide who led us through an Alaskan rainforest while describing how life thrives in that environment. The volunteer guide that took us through a Door County lighthouse while describing its history. And if we have ears to hear we also have a tour guide of life, the Holy Spirit.
In the Gospel of John Jesus said, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13, NASB95) One of the things my tour guides had in common was their disclosure and interpretation of truth relevant to the location. It would have been a bit confusing if the gentleman leading us through the cave would have provided information about lighthouses or rainforests. Likewise, the Holy Spirit will guide us to truth that is relevant for today. It could be a word of comfort, assurance, warning, conviction, or direction. Jesus’ words indicate that the Holy Spirit will continually and actively guide us into all truth. He doesn’t plop it all down at once but leads us to it and through it like a tour guide.
A journey of truth that unfolds each day if we will take the time to listen. But, like when on a tour, there is a secret trick that will make our steps even more meaningful. It’s not easy for most of us as it may even feel a bit rebellious or even embarrassing (it’s not and it shouldn’t be). The secret to making your tour more meaningful is to ask questions. It works with human tour guides as well with the Holy Spirit. Asking who, what, when, how, and why may unlock more information and help us to understand what God is up to. Also like a tour through a cave, rainforest, or lighthouse what we encounter and when we see it is up to our tour guide. We can trust the Holy Spirit to reveal the right things at the right time.
Jesus also indicated that the Holy Spirit would “disclose to you what is to come.” Tour guides often warn about something coming up in the trail. “The trail ahead is slippery because of the waterfall so hold on the rope.” Or perhaps there is a tease about something grand that is around the corner. “You think that that stalactite is awesome, wait until you see the next room!”
I don’t think Jesus was saying that the Holy Spirit would disclose in July who this year’s World Series Champions will be (Go Cubs). Or what the stock market will do tomorrow. Or anything else we’d like to know about our future. I do know however that the Holy Spirit can and does warn us and encourage us at times about what is around the corner for us.
I vividly remember an impression that a storm was coming while looking out at a bright sunny morning. I didn’t know what, when, or how. My response was to pray for Jesus to get us through. That was about a month before mom began to show symptoms of the disease that would claim her life. I know, it’s vague and it could have meant anything. But throughout mom’s final days that impression about the coming storm and my prayer in response echoed in my mind and gave me comfort. You could say that we’re on a “need to know” basis with the future. The Holy Spirit will reveal it if He decides we need to know.
So, I have these encouragements for you. Trust the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth you need right now. Take the time to listen. Observe patterns. When you read a verse and then hear it or its main topic from someone else it could be the Holy Spirit pointing out something important. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a passage in the morning and heard it later in church. Ask questions but don’t demand answers. Don’t expect to know the future but don’t be surprised when the Holy Spirit gives you a glimpse of something yet to come. Trust your tour guide. Oh, and there is no need to tip the Holy Spirit, just enjoy the tour.