When was the last time a shiver went down your spine? What caused it? Was it the cold, something spooky or a reaction to something you ate?
I find that often an awareness of God literally sends a shiver down my spine. It is almost as if I can feel God’s Spirit at work in me and he causes a physical response. I am not suggesting that this should be your experience, it’s just the way that I respond to God’s presence.
I had one of those experiences this morning. I was reading Job 38 with Chris Tomlin’s Indescribable playing in the background. That sent a shiver down my spine as an awareness of God’s greatness from Scripture merged with the song lyrics. It was a reminder of the God whom I serve and worship – so incredible that human descriptions of him are inadequate, but even those inadequate descriptions make me shudder.
But what really got my spine tingling was the song that came a little further down my playlist: I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene. I was overwhelmed with a sense of the incredible love God has for me.
“How marvellous, how wonderful is my Saviour’s love for me!”
It’s not a hymn I can remember singing much until recently. The words got right deep into me and the more I reflected the more shivers I experienced. I decided that this was the hymn with which we should start our morning service on Sunday.
Then I finished reflecting and looked again at my sermon theme for Sunday morning: Jesus said, “I am with you.” What are the opening lines of the hymn? “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene…” I started to laugh at this and said out loud, “You are good!” He had not only inspired me to worship but he had encouraged me to use a hymn that (unwittingly on my part) linked to the theme of the service!
I realise that if you read my blog on more than an occasional basis it is possible to gain the erroneous impression that I am a super-spiritual person who is always in touch with God, that I am always reflecting on my walk with him and that I constantly hear from him.
Not so. Please rid yourself of any such thoughts. Have a word with my wife if you think this is false modesty! I tend just to record the positives because I am too embarrassed to share the negatives! But we all serve a great God whose love knows no limits and whose grace is greater than our failings.
Shiver joke? (yes it’s tenuous but what do you expect?)
A pirate walks into a pub and the innkeeper says, “Hey, I haven’t seen you in a while. What happened, you look terrible!”
“Shiver me timbers, what do you mean?” the pirate replies, “I’m fine.”
The innkeeper says, “But what about that wooden leg? You didn’t have that before.”
“Arrr,” says the pirate, “We were in a battle at sea and a cannon ball hit my leg but the surgeon fixed me up with a wooden leg, and I’m fine, really.”
“Yeah,” says the innkeeper, “But what about that hook? Last time I saw you, you had both hands.”
“Shiver me timbers,” says the pirate, “We were in another battle and we boarded the enemy ship. I was in a sword fight and my hand was cut off but the surgeon fixed me up with this hook, and I feel great, really.”
“Oh,” says the innkeeper, “What about that eye patch? Last time you were in here you had both eyes.”
“Arrr, shiver me timbers,” says the pirate, “One day when we were at sea, I heard a shout from the scurvy dog in the crow’s nest. I looked up and the egg filling from his sandwich hit me in my eye.”
“What?” exclaimed the innkeeper, “You lost an eye just from some egg sandwich filling?”
“Arrr. Shiver me timbers, Ahaarrr, no.” says the pirate. “I hadn’t got used to the hook.”