It’s the as-yet-unpacked box, long forgotten in the attic or the garage or the basement or on the top shelf of the closet or under a bed. It’s the invisibly present thing in the room, like what’s been supporting the bedside lamp. If you’ve ever moved house in the rememberable past, it is likely you have at least one of these. One time (the only time!), it was our move back from France, and I was determined to avoid this ‘disappearance.’ I scrupulously itemized the contents of each box on legal pad pages. Sixty-six boxes in total! (how Biblical!) Each one had a bright yellow rectangular sticker stating 1/66/, 2/66, 3/66, etc. One slight complication was that the whole assemblage, once delivered stateside, needed to be moved – twice, before we found a place of our own! In one of those transfers, #32 and #49 went ‘missing’ temporarily. Of course, the contents of those two particular boxes held the items we were most desperate to locate.
The spiritual parallel to this conundrum is the overwhelming gifting of the Holy Spirit. At one time, early on, we luxuriated in the muchness of His provision for our lives. We were passionately aware of His dynamic presence, His desire to provide everything we needed for life and godliness. Ah, those were the days! We were almost dangerous in our zeal! But, over time, as life intervened, and other pursuits nudged in to claim priority, we lost sight of the wealth of our inheritance. As years flew by, it got harder and harder to recall those fiery days of wonder and excitement. It may be that we’ve forgotten the ease with which we heard Him speaking to us. Life became more and more a burdensome slog.
The really good news is that nothing has changed from the Holy Spirit’s point of view. He’s here. He’s unchanged in His mission to send us out as world changers, as fishers of men, as encouragers par excellence. Regardless of time away, or time lost, the whole ‘box’ of divine provision remains in our possession. It is still our inheritance. The door still stands ajar. As we quiet ourselves, stilling the inner roar, it is still there – that initial Invitation from the Father. As we search for, and find, that ‘box,’ turning our attention to Eternal things, all lesser things fade in importance, freeing up space in our souls to hear again the encouragement from ‘the great cloud of witnesses’ who’ve gone before. They are still joyfully calling out: It’s worth it! You can do it! Join us! We will also hear a sin-sick world pleading: Come over and help us! Who knows what gifts have lain dormant in the bottom of that carton! It’ll be the one with #1 written on it! PD