The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Unexpected gift of spirit

Chance pairing at Habitat blitz leads to lifesaving help

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets” (Nicene Creed). 

I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you” (John 14:25-26).

I doubt that I’m alone when I say that most Lutheran Christians, in thinking about the triune God, have the most difficulty theologically understanding the role of the Spirit. We are left with the Spirit, often unseen in our daily lives, which seems hard to access. Many people, especially when illness and trouble comes, admonish the Spirit.

In my 43 years in medicine, I’ve seen the part of the Spirit that is life-giving frequently called upon with urgency. When our prayers don’t seem to be answered, the Spirit seems absent. Or we wonder if we have assigned the Spirit the wrong work or if there is activity in dimensions we don’t easily recognize.

It’s hard to know most of the time what God is up to. But there are times when we see things that are hard to ascribe to chance, and the Spirit as our advocate seems to break through. When we have mounting times of doubt, sometimes God needs to slap us in the face.

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