One simple sentence in the Bible has been resonating within my head and heart lately, especially as I speak and correspond with people who are in some way facing scary health situations. Here’s the sentence:
Do not stifle the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
In some ways, the sentence seems to address something impossible. How can we stifle the Spirit, the breath of life and action that God bestows upon and within each of us? Isn’t the Spirit something that moves and is of a force that’s not within our control?
But, far from something impossible, in fact sometimes when we are most afraid, we do tamp down our enthusiasm (or cannot seem to locate it) for God’s gifts, and we stifle the very Spirit that can give us strength and guidance at a time of dire need.
How do we do this? One of the most common ways is by playing a kind of verbal game of catch with God. We might pray, “please help me through this crisis,” wait a few seconds, then pray it again – tossing the problem up to God, then taking it back again only to toss it up again… In other words, we get caught up in the circle of the back and forth without consciously understanding that God heard us the first time.
Or, we might become so tensed with fear – at a diagnosis, a test, the unknown – that we cannot think of anything else, including letting God cleanse us with His comfort and love.
When it moves us, the Spirit is so very bright, lively, powerful – all of the things that we might not feel if we’re ill, in pain, or despairing. So, we might “accidentally on purpose” stifle it because it seems so foreign at the moment.
However we sabatoge letting the Spirit work upon and in us, we can always turn the situation around. Find one thing to be grateful for, and let that gratitude multiply. Find one friend to relax with, laugh with, and see the Spirit spark. Find one person to help, and experience the comfort that comes from being of use, of help – the Spirit in motion.
Do not stifle the Spirit.
How easy it is to sometimes tamp down the Spirit – but how wonderful it is to let the Spirit soar, even in life’s most difficult moments!
Blessings for the day,