Daily Word of Grace # 76 (June 30, 2020)
One of Jesus’s teachings about the Holy Spirit is darkly funny at the outset: “Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion?” (Luke 11:11-12). Giving a hungry child a snake instead of a fish or a scorpion instead of an egg is about as dark as it gets, and yet sometimes we are tempted to think that when we ask God for good things God will give us harmful things instead. But the exact opposite is true, as Jesus continues, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13). I love Jesus’ candor here—“If you then, who are evil”—for indeed we are all evil sinners in need of God’s grace. And yet if we ask, God will give us the grace of the Holy Spirit, the very presence of the living God to assure us in our hearts that we are God’s beloved children who can cry out to our Heavenly Father, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15). “Abba” is the Aramaic word for “Daddy” (as well as the name of the best band Sweden ever produced) an intimate term of affection and trust that was often one of the first words spoken by a toddler. Along these lines, a short helpful prayer that I have prayed countless times is “Lord, please cleanse me from my sins and fill me with your Spirit”—a prayer of intimate affection and trust that is a direct response to Jesus’ word to ask our Heavenly Abba, for the Holy Spirit.
Love and Prayers,