Earlier this fall, my wife Becca and I flew to Philadelphia as the culmination of over a year of praying, dreaming, planning, traveling, and conversing about God’s plan for our future together in Ireland. At the Serge missionary assessment, we went through interviews about everything from our finances to our spiritual growth, met with leaders within the organization, and spent time with other recruits that were going through the same process of waiting and hoping that we were.
On Wednesday of that week, we were officially appointed as Serge missionaries to Ireland! The next two days were spent learning about the ins and outs of Serge, discussing the support raising process, and agreeing upon a timeline of when we will be hopefully making the big move across the pond.
We arrived back in St. Louis to our already busy lives. We’re juggling long hours of multiple jobs, classes, and counseling clients. And now we’re adding planning and preparing for our future into our weekly routines.
In the midst of the long days and exhaustion, we have been learning in a tangible way of the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit.
This semester, one of my seminary classes is focused on the Holy Spirit and His work in the Church. We have spent weeks unpacking what the Bible means by “breath” and “spirit” and how they are intimately woven together for us to understand just what it is the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives.
The Holy Spirit is the very animating power of life for our daily, bodily existence. In the way that the inhaling of air animates our bodies and gives us life, so too does the Holy Spirit—in such a bigger and more profound way.
For most of my life, I have viewed the Holy Spirit as the “gap-filler” in my failures. I am broken, and I can do things well up to a certain point, and the Holy Spirit is there to make up for my deficiencies. I need the Holy Spirit because I am not yet sanctified and whole.
What this season has taught Becca and I, though, is quite the opposite. We need the Holy Spirit because we were created to need Him. We were created to breathe in the power of the Holy Spirit as a daily animation of our being, to walk within His power and to be sustained daily by it. It is not because of weakness that we are needy; it is how we were meant to be. Reliance is by design.
If it is only in the seasons when we are tired and seemingly devoid of life that we fall back on the Holy Spirit as a safety net, we are missing so much of the joy of reliance of the Holy Spirit to sustain our daily living. Too often, I try to run on my own power, attempting to prove how much I can do. I think of the Holy Spirit as being present to fix my mistakes after I fail.
What this season has taught us is the joy of starting with reliance. As I breathe in and out as I am writing this, I am reminded of the bodily sensation of air entering my lungs, giving me life.
This understanding about God’s work through His Spirit is not just comforting, it keeps us moving, growing, working, and, most importantly, resting. Resting in the very Breath of Life.