Our dog is a spastic little brown and white beagle named Copper. He has big green eyes, floppy ears that he likes to chew on, and freckled legs. The list of things he is afraid of is lengthy and ridiculous: boxes, brooms, screen doors, vacuum cleaners, leaf blowers, swiffers, and all forms of water, just to name a few. He likes playing tug-of-war, going on long walks, eating sticks, laying in patches of sunshine, and running around in circles through our kitchen/living room. And if you’ve ever met Copper, you know that he loves people more than anything else in the world.
Copper is so attached to humans that he has a significant fear of missing out; if we go outside or leave the house, he watches out the window until we come back, which is often cute and often annoying.
I sometimes think that the disciples felt similar to an over-attached pup whose owner has just left when Jesus says He's leaving earth, except an obvious deeper sense of immediate loss and loneliness and disappointment. Can you imagine walking the streets with your Savior and Teacher one day, rejoicing over everything He has done and said, and then finding out He is leaving? I would cry in confusion and anger and sorrow. But then, as usual, Jesus goes and says something crazy:
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. –John 16:7
I would love to go back in time and see the disciples’ reactions, but I imagine it went something like this: Did Jesus just say that it was better if He goes away? How is that even possible? He is the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Christ. He embodies everything that is good and perfect and holy. This doesn’t make any sense!
If I’m being honest, I often forget the power of the Holy Spirit. I used to be weirdly jealous of all of the people who were able to walk beside Jesus and learn from His teachings and live everyday life alongside Him. My thoughts were: we may have plumbing and cars in the 21st century, but we don’t have GOD HIMSELF WALKING THE STREETS. We don’t have multitudes literally following Him and we can’t hear His actual voice. But then I started to gain a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. –John 16:13-14
I’m no longer jealous of people from Biblical times because I have experienced and learned about the significance and influence of the Spirit of the Lord dwelling inside of me. We, as followers of Jesus, have His spirit as a remarkable and beautifully intricate gift. The Spirit guides and convicts and teaches us in a way that only God could do. It kind of blows my mind.
I’m really glad we don’t have to feel like an over-attached pup whose owner left him alone. Because we are the opposite from alone.