I had the joy of camping in the mountains this past week. For me, the mountains are such a sacred space. This time was different. I learned a really important lesson that I did not expect. The space where we tent camped was located close to the outhouse but not close to the pump for drinking water.
In a matter of a few hours, I found myself making a fourth trip to the water hydrant. I began to think of the millions of people around the world that have to walk for their water. Much of the developing world has to walk around 3.75 miles, one-way, to get clean water.
Water is an important resource, something that we would literally die without. But it had become something I had taken for granted because it is so easily accessed in my home, all I have to do is turn on a faucet. Being in the mountains made me rethink access to water and how grateful I am for what I have.
As I reflected on this, I feel like I have also taken the Holy Spirit for granted. It would have been shocking for the disciples when Jesus told them that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. You can read this in Acts 1:7-8. The Holy Spirit was only given to kings, prophets and those who were anointed to represent God.
It was not given to “just” anyone. It was, and is, a high honor to have the Spirit of God anoint you and call you into living a life that represents the loving grace of God. The disciples knew just how amazing this was.
God wants to dwell with us and give God’s own Spirit to inhabit us. How often do we take God’s presence in our lives for granted? How often in our day do we pause and rest in the Spirit’s presence and be grateful for it?
This experience in the mountains has made me rethink my gratitude for the Holy Spirit wanting to dwell within me, call me into something new, and give me strength to face the day. It reminded me that I am not to rely on my own strength, but on the Spirit inside me.
I encourage you to pause today and give thanks for the presence of God in your life. Remembering that you never have to walk alone, but that God walks with you, calling you, and giving you strength to face everyday.
Jim Barth is a pastor with First United Methodist Church.