Hovering

D L Henderson
7 min readJul 27, 2023

July 27, 2023

Jesus told His disciples when He was near the end of His life on Earth, “…when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” — John 12:32, NLT.

If you ever feel a twinge of conscience, a slight inner tug, it just might be Jesus trying to draw you to Himself by using a still, small voice. (read 1 Kings 19:11–13)

In Genesis, the Holy Spirit is in Creation, “hovering over the waters.” This hovering is said to be like an eagle brooding over her nestlings. This is not unlike the essence of Jesus saying, “How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” — Matthew 23:37, NLT.

It might be He is hovering over you today, trying to create something new in you in a refreshing way, not like some old cranky school teacher, glaring over your shoulder. He is there for our benefit. Yet, we do have to respond.

I’m nobody special. However, I’m saying to you that the Holy Spirit was hovering over me. God found me, and I responded. He created something new inside me… but I still have had to respond.

If you don’t particularly feel obliged to believe the Bible and respond to what it says, or if you just pick and choose which passages you like and discard the rest, I hope you have a complete and solid theory and an alternate dialogue you can live and die by, because eventually, when you stand before God, you will have to be able to explain it to Him.

Notwithstanding that, there seems to be a consistency in the pattern of God’s working in His Creation. He has had His blueprint from the beginning, and is consistent in its application — even if Mankind isn’t following it… You might find insight in the words of Psalm 81: “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not obey me. So I let them go their stubborn ways and do whatever they wanted.” — NLT.

We have our own free wills and our own stubborn ways, don’t we? At least, I’ll admit that I do. The surprising thing might be that God will actually let us go. He will let us go our own ways. He will leave us to our own devices. What do you think about that?

The song lyrics, “You’ve got to go your own way.” has a more limited scope than what I used to think…

Yet, God doesn’t want automatons. The Holy Spirit still hovers over us. God puts up with us, because God loves us… but we still do whatever we please… Not a very good response.

Anyways, for Bible Believing Christians, I would like to clarify something about the “indwelling of the Holy Spirit.”

This may be a little bookish to dawdle over — a merely linguistic detail — and I certainly don’t want to upset anybody’s apple cart. I mean only to give an expansive panoramic view to move toward a fuller understanding.

Now, about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, many preachers describe this as the Holy Spirit living inside of you. Well, in a way yes, but looking through the lens of all the Scriptures, maybe not exactly. Others may be having a different experience, but mine has been more like the Spirit of God hovering over and outside of me in a dynamic intended to complete God’s work within me.

I’m not trying to be contentious. However one looks at this mystery, this phenomenon, the end result is the same. However we look at it, functionally it is the same — to complete God’s work in us. So, no worries.

As mentioned above, the Holy Spirit was hovering over the Creation of the Earth and the Universe, Mankind and Adam and Eve. Jesus spoke and it happened. I assume it was by the power of God the Father. But that is just a guess. Speculation really isn’t my forte.

Now, when we are morally and spiritually lost, with a corpse for a human nature, the Holy Spirit works to bring us light and life, to lead us to truth and our need for repentance and salvation at the foot of the cross of Jesus. (Born-again Believers will understand this.)

In that sense of hovering the Holy Spirit led me and eventually convinced me I had made a mess of my life, of my need for forgiveness, repentance, and the opportunity for accepting Jesus as my Savior and Lord of my life. (He is far and away more capable than I had been. He makes suggestions like when I am reading the Bible, and when I truly listen, yes, He is quite capable!)

Now, the Spirit has been working from outside of me, but now, what? Is He working from the inside out? I still think He is hovering above, and what is going on inside me is the new creation, the new nature, being nurtured by the One still hovering.

Jesus taught things like, “I am the vine; you are the branches.” The apostle Paul talks about “the fruit of the Spirit.” Jesus talks about seed sowing, different types of ground, and the ability for the seeds to take root.

A lot of agricultural allegories, right? Perhaps those of us who grew up in a strictly urban environment miss the point, but let me continue.

Jesus said that he would be in us and we would be in Him. Jesus declared, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” — Revelation 22:16, NIV. There’s a farming allegory again.

So, is Jesus inside me?

Not exactly Him, either.

Rather, He has given me the gift of a new nature, His nature inside me, to eventually supplant my old sinful nature — not unlike how the Israelites supplanted the evil inhabitants of the Promised Land… and that not unlike replacing my harmful thinking, and doing, and my resistance to obey His directions… not unlike reining in the rebellious teenager…

(Ever hear the story of the person who as he got older, his parents got smarter?)

Here’s what I see: Just like in my gardens here at home, I add fertilizer to the soil and water the plants and trees so that they can absorb all the nutrition they need to grow and produce flowers and fruits and veggies.

Likewise, the Holy Spirit provides us all the nutrition we need to become fruitful creations. He “comes alongside us to help.” Jesus’ gift of the new nature initiated the birth of that new creation which the Holy Spirit helps with the needed growth.

Note, again, linguistically, when “within” is used, the translation can also be “among.” So, when Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I will be AMONG you,” Therefore I am convinced that when Jesus responded to the Pharisees question about when the kingdom of God would come, He said, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst,” Jesus was referring to Himself. He is the whole ball of wax! He is the King and thus He is, for all intents and purposes, the Kingdom. This is consistent with the phrase, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is come near!” in the scenario of Jesus coming to John to be baptized. (“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

I think it is the same principle with the Holy Spirit whose nutritive values flow through us. He is among us when we are in a group and comes alongside us individually, both to fulfill God’s particular purposes: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” — John 14:26, NIV. Also, “…when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” — John 16:13.

Like a Driving Instructor, he is right beside us, but we still have to sit behind the wheel. In these ways Jesus and the Holy Spirit are in us and we are in Them. Yet, Jesus has sat down on the throne at the right hand of God the Father, and the Holy Spirit is still hovering over God’s whole Creation.

In conclusion, no matter how you picture God at work in our lives, this is the essential and most important concept: Jesus, through His sacrifice on the cross, opened up the opportunity for all people everywhere to receive a personal relationship with Him and through the Holy Spirit experience God’s presence in our lives.

Perhaps it will remain clouded in mystery. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is still hovering over God’s Creation.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11:28–30, NIV.

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D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between