In Scripture the Holy Spirit is sometimes described like a dove. And like a dove the Holy Spirit is sensitive. R.T. Kendall tells the story of ‘a British couple sent by their church to be missionaries in Israel some years ago. They were given a home to live in near Jerusalem. After being there a few weeks, they noticed that a dove had come to live in the eaves of their roof in their home. They were thrilled. But they also noticed that the dove would fly away every time they would slam a door or get into an argument with each other. “How do you feel about the dove?” the husband asked his wife. “It is like a seal from the Lord on our being in Israel,” she replied. “But have you noticed that every time we slam a door or start shouting at each other, the dove flies away?”“Yes, and I am so afraid the dove will fly away and not come back,” she said. “Either the dove adjusts to us, or we adjust to the dove,” the man concluded. They both knew that the dove was not going to adjust to them. They mutually agreed: they would adjust to the dove. That decision changed their lives. Just to keep a bird at their home! The dove is a shy sensitive bird. But the Holy Spirit, depicted as a dove in each on the four Gospels is a thousand times more sensitive than a turtle dove.

“You may know what it is like for the Holy Spirit to come down on you. The problem is He doesn’t stay. He doesn’t remain. He apparently flies away. When the Holy Spirit comes down on you there is nothing like it in the world. The peace. The joy. You want time to stop. But the sense of His presence doesn’t seem to last. It is not that the Holy Spirit leaves us. He doesn’t. Jesus promised that He would abide forever (John 14:16). So let’s be clear about this: the Holy Spirit never leaves us. The Dove illustration is a metaphor: the Dove only seems to fly away. He seems to lift. It is therefore the sense of God that appears to lift from us. When the Dove lifts – although the Spirit never leaves you, the anointing diminishes. That is, the sense of His presence is gone… for the time being, at least.

RT Kendall. Holy Fire, 2014, Florida: Charisma House, p.79-81