Some days I wish the Holy Spirit would be as insistent with me as my car is. No matter how hard I try, my car will not allow me to do something stupid – lock the keys inside. Most recently, I learned that I cannot lock them in the trunk either. I tried. Several times.
I was attending a conference. At the end of the first day, I pulled into the hotel parking lot, quite ready to unpack and get some rest. Parking near the front entrance, I pulled my suitcase, leftover lunch (that I couldn’t wait to eat for supper), laptop, and conference notes out of the trunk. With my purse and laptop hanging from one shoulder, leftovers in the opposite hand, and pulling my suitcase, I made my way to the front desk. Discouraged doesn’t fully describe my mood when I learned that my room was in another building, which I would have to drive to. I dragged everything back out to my car. In an effort to get there as quickly as possible, I threw everything into the trunk. That’s when my car took over.
I closed the trunk lid, but it popped open. Thinking I didn’t push hard enough, I tried again. Pop! What is going on? Pushed it down again even harder. Pop! I looked for something blocking the latch, rearranged a few things, and slammed it shut. Pop! I slammed it again…and again…and again. Pop, pop, pop! Then I looked around for someone filming me. This had to be a joke. Where were the cameras? It was then I noticed my purse in the trunk. Could it be that my trunk wouldn’t lock because my key was in my purse?
Retrieving my purse, I tentatively closed the trunk and waited. It stayed closed. Shut the door! My car knew locking my keys in the trunk was a bad idea. I hate when inanimate objects are smarter than me, but it happens all the time. Between my computer, cell phone, and now my car, I’m not very bright, but I don’t need to be. They’ve got my back.
The problem is, the Holy Spirit doesn’t behave like my car. He lets me make bad decisions and do things that cause me grief. Sometimes it’s just some little, annoying thing. Other times it’s a bigger, more dramatic thing that has serious consequences. There are times when he does keep me from doing something harmful, and I am very grateful for that. It helps when I am sensitive to his leading. But I often don’t take the time to figure out why He seems to be holding me back. I just keep slamming the trunk.
Unlike my car, which is simply programmed not to lock the key inside, the Holy Spirit cares about me personally. It matters to Him that I grow in my faith, whether that happens through His intervention or allowing me to make a mistake. He’s definitely not like one of those self-driving cars. When the mistakes happen, He is there to pick up the pieces and restore my joy. I wouldn’t want him to behave like the artificial intelligence all around me. I need his prompting, His care, and His comfort. And I’m thankful that He doesn’t always allow me to slam the trunk.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26 ESV)