Recently, I went to my daughter, Annie’s house, to stay with my grandchildren while Annie and her husband were going to be out of town for a week. When I arrived on a Thursday night, the internet was working fine. I was able to connect with their WiFi and was all set. It was important to me to be able to be on the internet because I would need to be working while I was there. I am a pastor and it was the week before Holy Week. I would be there until the evening before Maundy Thursday. I needed to be able to connect with our church secretary as well as other people and places. Annie’s home is in the country and without internet, I have no way of connecting to do my work.
Later that evening the internet went out. It was out every time I checked in the night. The next morning I saw Annie and Eric off and checked the internet. Still out. So I did what my internet company always tell me to do. I unplugged everything. I waited an appropriate amount of time and plugged it all back in. I first did it in the computer room and nothing happened. Then I went to the living room to the box beside the television. I pulled that router out from where it was wedged in, looked carefully where each cord went before disconnecting them. I waited a little time and then connected all the cords back up. This time, where there had been power, there was none. No light came on. Nothing. I was baffled. I traced all the cords to where I could to see if there was something loose but I had no luck. All day, on Friday, I had no internet and it was frustrating. That evening we left to come to my house for the weekend so I could lead worship. On Sunday, we returned to Annie’s house and still, we had no internet.
Annie called her internet/cable company and they suggested I call and have a technician walk me through. So, I did and we talked and he had me try numerous things. Finally, he said, “just unplug everything again and let’s start over. So, I started doing that. I disconnected the two top cords which were like phone jacks. Then I started on the bottom cable. “It’s screwed on kind of tight,” I said. He said, “What? That power cord doesn’t screw on. That cord should just plug into a place in the back.”
Well yes. There was a three-pronged place for a power cord. What I was unscrewing was the cable that went to the television. So, then I realized there must be another cord that I did not see. I started looking and lo and behold, there in the back of the entertainment center just about to slip through the hole where all the cords went to connect to the wall or somewhere else, was the power cord to the wireless router. Apparently when I pulled out the router to look at where each cord went, that power cord unplugged and was gone before I ever saw it. I felt ridiculous but was thankful we figured out the problem. We were not going to ever get power without plugging in to the source of power – the electrical outlet.
So, here’s what I’ve been thinking, once I got over the initial embarrassment of realizing I was looking at the wrong cords. I think we humans tend to be this way far too often. We try and try to have the power on our own to accomplish something. We work so hard on it and we are determined to find the energy and the ability to get it working. And when it is lacking, when it seems there is no real power, we search in all the wrong places to figure out what is going on. We look to ourselves first, trying to see if we are missing something. We give ourselves a pep talk. We look at all our knowledge and skills and wonder why it isn’t enough.
Then, we look at the environment and we try to create scenarios where there might be a problem and how we might solve it. But all the time, we just need to plug in to the power source. The Holy Spirit is, of course, the source of power for us who are believers. In John 20 we read of the time when the risen Lord Jesus appears to the disciples for a second time, this time to Thomas who had doubted that the others had seen Jesus alive before. John says Jesus breathed on them and said “Receive the Holy Spirit. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the disciples would not have had the energy, or the motivation, or the courage to do what they had to do for the sake of the gospel. They became “plugged in” to the power source – the Holy Spirit.
Regardless of how much you might look in the wrong places and how foolish you might feel once you realize your search has been futile, just come to the place where you can admit that the only power source you need is in one place. That place is where the Holy Spirit is. That place can be in you, if you just plug in. Not to any other source. Just to the source of power. The mighty power of God, given to us in the Holy Spirit. Breathed into us by Jesus Christ our risen Lord and Savior. Amen.