So I have this theory. The simplest way to begin to explain it by using songwriting. I feel like songs are “in the air.” I, as a songwriter, reach up into the air, retrieve and assemble them, and voila: you have a song. That’s not to say it’s easy. But it is to say that the song is there — waiting to be written. (One of my all-time favorite lines from a song is by Darrell Scott: “A good song never comes to those who chase / it comes to those who listen)
That’s the start of my theory, but it expands to other areas. Prophetic words, for example. One line of thinking says that God gives a word to a person to give to another person. If that person doesn’t deliver it, then the message is not given — at least in that manner. My feeling (totally mine, I don’t know of Scripture that explains it) is that the word was “in the air” (more specifically “in the Spirit”) around that person. What it needed was a person with a prophetic bent to pick it out of the air and deliver it. It may even be possible that more than one person could hear the word. God may just be looking for someone to hear it and have the guts to deliver it. I think of Jesus with the woman at the well in the Gospel of John. He had a word of knowledge about her (she had had five husbands) and it radically changed her life. I imagine that knowledge, that word was there in the Spirit as a revelation from the Father because he knew it would be a sign to the Samaritan woman. Jesus heard it in the Spirit and delivered it.
I believe that God, at the appointed time, releases things into the Spirit. These can be creative (songs, books, dance, art, etc.), spiritual (prophetic words, theological understanding, apologetics, etc.) or scientific (inventions, cures, discoveries, etc.). Even business and political realms are wide open.
This is just a little idea that God has been sparking in me, but I was quite surprised to come across this article from New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell recently. He argues that the geniuses we herald so much (Einstein, Bell, Edison, etc.) were actually geniuses at deciphering what was “in the air.” Almost every major discovery of the modern era was simultaneously made by several people (the telephone, calculus, oxygen). Gladwell goes into detail about the scientific / cultural / educational reasons for this, but I was struck by the spiritual implications. This is exactly what I had been sensing!
So, once again, it’s just a theory, but I will be listening like crazy to hear what the Lord is saying. I want to hear. I want to discover. Help me deliver.
Jeremiah 33:3 (New International Version)
3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
Proverbs 8:12 (King James Version)
12I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
(I was turned on the Malcolm Gladwell’s writing by Bob Lefsetz. I read a few New Yorker articles and was hooked. So I got his first book, The Tipping Point and must say it was great. He’s written three books and I’m working my way through all of them.
What strikes me the most about Tipping Point is the discussion of teen suicide in Micronesia and how it became the cool thing to do after a particularly charismatic teenager took his own life. Gladwell argues that there’s a tipping point because the teens that follow suit have been given social permission for the behavior they’ve only fleetingly considered. I would add a spiritual dimension to it: it’s the Satanic imitation of God. Satan is releasing evil in the spiritual realm and there are people who are susceptible to that particular influence. They grabbed it “out of the air” and acted on it.)