In the fall of 2001, I opened my Bible and read. Every day. During David's nap time, I turned off the TV and the outside noise of the world and read. I started in Matthew and read right through. When I got to Romans, I was enthralled. Literally mouth gaped open and in awe of some of the things I read.
The first verse I ever felt deep in my soul was Romans 8:11...
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
Does the thought of that give you chills? It does me... that the very Spirit of Him who is able to bring a dead body back to life is living inside of my soul. That He designed it all this way. That He wanted to be within me. Isn't that amazing?
There's also another element to this, too. That power is inside of me. Immeasurable strength. The ability to make it through today, no matter what today may bring. The strength to make the right choices, to live a life controlled by the Spirit of God not by the world.
Let me share a little story... I have a cat. A sixteen year old cat, to be exact. And she's on the verge of senile. I have always kept a water bowl for her in the kitchen. Nothing fancy; just a lime green plastic cereal bowl from Walmart. Every so often over the last eight years, I rinse it out or wash it or throw it in the dishwasher. I had noticed over the last few months that scaling was building up all over the inside of the bowl from our hard water, and it was beginning to look a little gross. So I threw the bowl away and put another one down for her, similar in color and shape. The stupid cat refused to drink out of it.
Now, Millie, the cat, has always been a fusser. The night my boyfriend (and future ex-husband) brought her to me after his shift waiting tables at a little pub, I had to put her in a pet taxi and place it on the back porch so I could get some rest. She would not shut up. And nothing has changed since then. If she's not happy, she will most certainly let you know. If she can see the bottom of her food bowl at any place, she fusses until I go fill it up or shake it to spread the food around evenly. If her water runs a wee bit low, she follows you around until you fill it back up. If she's having a good day and just wants to chat, she does that, too. We have conversations, I tell you, and we've been together for so long that I feel like she understands what I am saying.
But as of this morning, she still would not drink out of the new bowl. I had filled it to the point that if I bumped it in any way the water rolled over the curved edge and onto the floor. I sat down beside her on the floor and stuck my finger in it to show her there was indeed water in the bowl and it was safe to drink. I tried just explaining it to her, thinking maybe her little kitty mind would accept the fact. But, no... not drinking from the new bowl, and going to go down screaming.
This morning, I gave in. I pulled out a totally different bowl, filled it with water and set it down. Wouldn't you know that she lapped it up. For three days I have been listening to this senile cat drive me batty over not liking the bowl I had given her.
Got me thinking, though.
Here we are, God's amazing masterpiece. Full to the brim with His Spirit, Power, Mercy, Love, Forgiveness. All we want, need, desire. All at our disposal. Overflowing and spilling onto the floor. And, yet, so many times, we refuse to drink. Maybe we don't like our bowl or the temperature or the setting or the circumstances. But the Spirit inside us never changes, never falters, never goes away.
To be honest, I don't like my bowl most days. I am motherless at 35, and I miss her terribly. I am fifteen pounds heavier than I want to be. I am unorganized and absentminded. I medicate my soul with food. I feel like I am a mess and a half. But God doesn't feel that way about me. He thinks I am wonderful enough to host His very Spirit, the one that raised Jesus Christ from the tomb on that first Easter morning. If that doesn't make you feel special, well then I don't know what will.
I don't know that God gives us a fresh bowl just because we fuss too much or too loudly like my stinking cat, Millie. But what He has shown me over the past two years is that He will give me what I need to make it through every single day. His Power is sufficient if I simply choose to drink it in. If I choose to live in His Spirit, make my choices according to His purposes, my bowl will always be full. And where I fail, His mercy will cover me.
"Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Jesus, John 4:13-14
Drink it today.