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The Comforter

I hear the most wonderful stories at our Sacred Circle Prayer and Listening Group on Wednesday nights. John and Judy Pulley told the group about the first time John felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. Their story takes place in 1985 when John and Judy were dating and Judy perceived that there was a problem. According to Judy, John’s mother didn’t like her; at least that’s how Judy tells it. The reason Judy believed that John’s mom didn’t care for her was because this was a second marriage for Judy and she had four children and John’s mom wasn’t too happy about John having an instant family.
One day Judy and John were out Christmas shopping and they stopped by Judy’s mom’s house and her mom met Judy at the front door and let her know there had been a tragedy. Earlier that day, John’s older brother Albert was out in a field working on a tractor and the tractor turned over on him and he was killed in the accident. John was still getting packages out of the car so Judy called John into the house and broke the horrific news to him.
There were two things that concerned them. Judy was worried about how John’s mom would receive her. They were going to see John’s mom and Judy said, “She probably doesn’t want to see me right now.”
But John said, “Judy, I need you, please go.” The other concern was how would John make it through the funeral. He said he didn’t know if he could do it.
They didn’t know it, but they really needed the Holy Spirit to comfort them and lead them and the Holy Spirit did that very thing. On the way over to visit John’s mom, Judy said she began to imagine what it would feel like to lose a child. She had great sympathy for John’s mom and when she arrived she hugged John’s mom and just loved on her.
John’s mom got to see Judy’s character and over time they became close. So close in fact that years later when John’s mom needed care before she passed away, Judy was her caregiver.
What about John? How did he make it through the funeral? Before the funeral started they sat in the car and John said, “I don’t think I can do this. I’m going to lose it in there.”
Judy said, “John, let’s pray that the Holy Spirit will comfort you.”
John said, “I’ve never felt the Holy Spirit in my life.”
Judy said, “I pray you will today.” So they got out of the car and walked to the funeral home. There were steps to negotiate. As John walked up the stairs it hit him. Right there on the steps of the funeral home, the Holy Spirit poured out His peace on John.
John said it was unreal. It was a peace he’d never felt before. John knew it was the Holy Spirit and he knew that his brother was ok. Throughout this tragic event in their lives the Holy Spirit was very much present and doing exactly what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do.
In John 14:26, Jesus promises us that the Holy Spirit will comfort us and the Spirit did just that for both John and Judy. In their hour of need they needed God’s comfort, guidance and assurance and God didn’t disappoint them. One thing I’d like us to notice is that John and Judy sought God and they prayed to the Lord for His comfort and peace.
One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of heaven.” John and Judy sought the Lord and God showed them the Kingdom of peace and comfort and He blessed them with the gift of his presence. As we pause this November to give thanks, perhaps the first thing we should be thankful for is the gift of Holy Spirit in our lives.
Lord, help us each to seek you first in all we do and say and help us to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives. May God bless John and Judy Pulley and may God bless Bethel Church.

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