The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26 ESV)
In the past couple weeks, across the UK, thousands of households have been transformed into classrooms. Following the lockdown and the closing of schools, parents have bravely taken up the role of teacher alongside their many other tasks of mum & dad, house cleaner, cook and dishwasher, laundry master extraordinaire, and household administrator. And so on top of all of that, parents have had to dive deep into their memory banks to extract long forgotten math formulas and proper english spelling and sentence structure. Every household with school-aged children has been impacted, including ours with four children. Every room in our house has been converted into a mini-classroom as each kid stakes out their territory with different projects, teacher zoom calls, and reading assignments. In some blissful moments, the house is quiet with everyone working. However only to be interrupted every few minutes with a loud call from across the house, “mum!” or “dad!”, followed by some query regarding math, science, or the dreaded technological question.
As much as this interrupts my day, and disrupts my flow of thought, it always pulls at my heart to come into a room and see a younger child in tears because they are stumped by some question. Whether the sums are too challenging, or the zoom call is not working, whatever it is seems to be an insurmountable problem for the child. And there seems to be dozens a day. But my answer is always the same, “Don’t worry, I’m here to help.” And I roll up my sleeves and tackle a P7 math question or crush a P3 writing assignment. And after it is solved and done, I ask, “Why were you so upset? I told you that I am here to help, and that we can always do this together.”
After condescending from my office to the makeshift classroom, and returning back again, I am struck by how much I forget that we have the Helper in our life, and yet oftentimes I am brought to an emotional end after a difficult encounter and have failed to see that “He is here to help”.
The night before Jesus died He was having supper with his friends. The Last Supper. And He was telling them that He was going to die. And that where He was going they could not come. It was an emotional dinner to say the least. But in typical compassionate form, Jesus assured the disciples that He would not leave them alone. In the middle of their grief, He told them plainly, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper (or Advocate, or Comforter), to be with you forever. (John 14:16).
The word used by Jesus is hard to translate into english. In Greek it is Paraclete, and it is best described as “one who is called for” or “one who comes alongside.” That is why we have such beautiful words to describe the Holy Spirit as “Helper”, “Comforter”, or “Advocate”. It describes the active work of the Holy Spirit as He comes alongside us in love to help, comfort and strengthen us. It is also incredible how Jesus says, “another helper”. It shows us the united character of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We are assured that in the manner Jesus loved and cared for His people as the Good Shepherd, the Holy Spirit will care for us in the same way. And when we are afflicted and distressed, we can cry out and the Holy Spirit will fill us with all comfort.
Jesus said (promised) “In this life, you will have many troubles.” (Jn 16:33) and He wasn’t kidding. We might have grown past crying over math sums, but we don’t make it far throughout the week without encountering some form of trouble. In my own pride, I attempt to solve the problem with my own grit and determination. And oftentimes only seem to make things worse. But in a moment of clarity and humility, I remember that I am not left to myself, and in a gentle voice I hear God say, “I am here to Help”.
Thoughts for Reflection
- Take time this week to meditate on the nature and person of the Holy Spirit.
- In what ways has the current state of the world filled you with anxiety and distress?
- Read John chapters 14 -16 and take notice how Jesus describes the Comforter.
- What stands out to you?
- How does Jesus portray our Need for the Comforter?
- Acknowledge before God the ways we tend to go about things on our own, without any given thought to the Holy Spirit. Confess our sin of self determination, and invite God the Holy Spirit to come alongside us and help.