I enjoy observing my children because I learn things about them, about myself and about human nature in general. One of the things I have noticed is this: my children act very differently when their mother is around than when she is not. When she is around, they are confident. They competently carry out their chores without difficulty. They even have the courage to try new things.
Sometimes on my day off, I watch the kids while Susan goes to run some errands. It often looks like this: Susan will leave while they are laying together in one of the bedrooms and they continue doing so for a half an hour after she is gone with absolutely no problems. But then, all of a sudden, one of our children comes out of the bedroom and asks rather pointedly, “Where’s mom?”
“She went to get groceries,” I reply.
“Where did she go?”
“To the grocery store.”
“When will she be back?”
“I don’t know.” The first child returns to the bedroom and obviously tells the rest because five minutes later another child comes out of the bedroom and asks the same series of questions all over again.
“She went to get groceries.” And on and on we go. And this group of children who, when their mother is present, are confident, competent and courageous, change instantaneously into a group of children who, without the presence of their mother, are anxious, incompetent and timid. They can’t even play right anymore.
Imagine what it was like for Jesus’ disciples. They had spent three years with Jesus. They saw his miracles. They heard his teaching. They experienced his love for them. And now, on this Thursday night, as they celebrated the Passover Meal with him, he told them he was leaving them. Imagine how anxious, incompetent and timid they must have felt. But then Jesus assured them that he would send them an Advocate, a Counselor, a Comforter. And this Advocate would guide them into all truth. This Advocate, the Holy Spirit, would lead them to the truth that God always loves them, the truth that God is always with them, the truth that God will always forgive them. And the Holy Spirit would do more than that. He will give them the confidence they needed as they headed into an unknown future. He will give them the special gifts and abilites that they need to do the tasks that he calls them to do. He will give them the courage that they need to face the challenges coming in the days and weeks and years ahead. And he will do the same thing for you.
You do not have to live in fear and anxiety. You need not be defined by insecurity and incompetence. Everyone who trusts in Jesus as Forgiver and Leader has already been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives within you. He will lead you and guide you. He will give you special gifts for special tasks that only you can do. And those special tasks that you do will make an eternal difference in other people’s lives. He will give you the courage you need to face what you could never handle on your own. That is the message of Pentecost. You are not alone. God the Holy Spirit is with you.
[Jesus said,] But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:13a