Particularly strong are the memories of my parents, specifically my mother, who must have spent hours making me chase her around the pool when I was little. At least, it felt like hours, and I was convinced I was going to drown (Love you mom, and by the way, I do the same thing to Quinn!). That image has stayed near the front of my mind this week, and I finally realized why when I reread one of the most intriguing verses in Romans 8:
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. (11)I first took notice of this verse a couple years ago when we had to read Romans for summer reading at school. Several things in life overlapped to make Romans 8 a powerful and particularly enduring force in my life at the time; the loss of our daughter, a mission trip to Poland where our pastor preached through Romans 8, and finally reading it for school. I remember sharing this particular verse with a small group and noting that Paul feels it necessary to repeat himself. The verse actually caught my attention because I had one of those weird brain moments where I thought I read the same line over and over. It actually took several minutes for me to unravel my own confusion and figure out that my brain wasn't a skipping record, but that the author was intentionally repetitive.
Paul repeats here two things, that the Spirit of God lives in us and that this is the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. Let me say that again, the Spirit of God lives in us and this is the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. Did you catch that? Because I've been a believer for fourteen years, and I'm still working out the logical consequences of those two truths, so one more time (read it slowly and out loud): the Spirit of God lives in us and this is the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.
No wonder Paul repeated himself. I'm surprised he only did it once. Because I just want to copy and paste that sentence over and over. So many days, I am convinced that the very God who holds all of creation in existence and still cares for me tenderly and compassionately will let me drown. And worse yet, I operate as if the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead and conquered death once for all will not be able to complete his work in me.
Don't get me wrong, the power of sin to deceive is a vicious foe, and the battle that rages for control of my mind is intense. I mean, like smelting metal in a furnace intense. So perhaps that is why I desperately need to be reminded of the greater power at work within me, a power that neither begins in me nor draws its strength from me, but a power that will give life to my body. Real life, not that namby, pamby self-numbing, entertained-to-death, safe kind of life. And I'm finding that real life to be soul-crushingly difficult, but desperately good.