I love the modern invention of keyless entry on my little red Prius. Some of us are old enough to remember a time when you had to actually put a key in your hand, stick it into the lock on your car door, turn it to unlock the door, push another button to let in your passengers (or way back in the day, lean across the seat and pull up the door lock thingy), then put the key into the ignition and turn it to start your car. How exhausting and time consuming!
Now my key stays in my purse and all I have to do is walk up to my car door and voila! — the door unlocks. I get in, push the start button and I’m on my way.
I have a handy little pouch to hold my key fob so when I drive to the park for my run/walk, I hide my purse, lock up, and carry my little pouch in my hand. Many mornings I have to dig around in my purse for the pouch and each time I think, It has to be here or I wouldn’t have been able to drive here. Duh.
Every now and then I forget to put the pouch back in my purse and it gets left in my jacket pocket. When I get in my car, it loudly beeps to let me know that no key is present. As small as that key is, it is absolutely necessary for driving my car.
I recently read this quote from Henri Nouwen:
This quote reminds me that God is like my key fob – there in the background, giving me the energy and juice for all I do. But because He is so unobtrusive— as in, God doesn’t get in my face or force me to do anything —I can easily forget how much I need Him.
My key fob has a little battery inside it that can run down. After mine would not open my car door one early morning after a gym workout, I have learned to spend the three dollars to get it replaced occasionally when I take my car in for service. (I also learned it has a tiny key inside for those kinds of emergencies.)
The same is true of the Holy Spirit in my life. Even though it is in me and a part of me, if I don’t spend quiet time seeking Him and nurturing His presence, before long I will have lost the connection. I will find myself unattached to the power source.
Jesus gave these comforting words to his disciples when he knew he was leaving them:
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
(John 14:16-17, NIV)
Notice that Jesus says the world cannot see the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, but we know him, because he lives in us. Sometimes I forget this and head out without taking the time to get in touch with the Holy Spirit first. I wish I had an alarm like the one in my car for those days — it might keep me from going off-road and wasting time getting back on the right path.