Why Our Power Never Really Runs Out
Mar 11, 2018 05:15AM
By Bonnie Lyn Smith
I am currently enjoying the slight sway of an Amtrak train. Back and forth. Side to side. If I wasn’t hyped up on a caramel macchiato and a few green matcha Kit-Kats, I’d be asleep in my neck pillow snoring like a buzz saw. There are fewer more relaxing ways to travel than a gentle train.
But my favorite part of this train today is the power outlet. And the Wi-Fi. You see, like much of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, we lost power a few days ago. It’s exciting while the heat is still lingering, and certainly those phone calls announcing cancellations of school for several days bring cheers in my household. But then the heat escapes the walls, the refrigerator stops insulating the chill of cold milk, and the darkness comes. It sounds so fun to camp out in the family room by the only fireplace, snuggling with the pets, heaping blankets on ourselves, and tossing the milk jugs out in the foot of snow to stay cold.
But it gets old day after day, doesn’t it? The reaching for the lightswitch in the bathroom, attempting to turn on a noncompliant coffee machine, waiting for clothes washed before the storm to dry on racks?
In our house, all-too-late we realized the withering power of the rechargeable batteries in the home phones. Not expecting such a long power outage, few of us had charged our chargers or our devices. In fact, my 12 year old son was the only one who thought ahead to make sure the Nintendo 3DS XL had some juice. The rest of us were storm-stupid and full of regrets the next morning when alarm clocks failed to waken us. It took a while to get the hang of remembering a flashlight must accompany us to other parts of the house after a certain hour, any reading we wanted to do was best done before dusk, and no matter how many movies we wanted to watch, the only solution was the partial connection to a running car battery for a few moments of entertainment. The gas grill suddenly got some love, and piles of blankets became our friends.
Once the reality of days without power settled in, we assessed which food needed to be eaten first, how we could strategically plan an outing at a time of day when several towns over we could find Wi-Fi to post a research paper due to Turnitin and look for town notices about school, roads, and power. As we drove around town, we could see the dangerous conditions of power lines hanging and tree branches snapping precariously over the road from the weight of the snow.
So, when I slipped into my cushy train seat this morning, the first thing I located was an outlet for my computer plug. It all but jumped out of my hand and sought the charge (oh, maybe that was the coffee talking!). I waited a full 10 minutes to reboot and then another 10 minutes to recall a password and log into an encrypted message from my children’s doctor. No matter how slowly it was processing, I was so happy to see that backlight again. I was fully em-powered and ready to write this column (late) and respond to some messages. It was magical.
And I thought about the many times in my life I felt dis-em-powered. I could list enough to fill weeks' worth of columns, but for a start, here are a few:
- When a massive decision was made without me
- When I was kept from a dear one I had every right to be with upon his death
- When my child was struggling with painful anxiety and slipped away from my reach for a while
- When a friend experienced a struggle far greater than I had the capacity to significantly help
- When I was told I couldn’t serve God in this way but only in that way by a controlling spiritual leader in my life
- When I was isolated and desperately depressed on a South Pacific island as a young mom many years ago
- When my infant was in the NICU, and nothing I could do would ease her discomfort at the tests and spinal tap
- When I wanted to resolve conflict with a person who had no capacity for that
- When I was stuck on the road with a broken-down car at a busy intersection, 8 months pregnant, with a two year old
- When loved ones were dying
- When other loved ones were using drugs
- When we ran out of student housing and had no place to live for a few weeks
Your examples may be different. Big or small, helplessness is a horrible feeling.
But the truth is this: If we belong to Christ, we are always plugged in.
Plugged into what?
If you know and believe in Him, there is power in the name of Jesus. All you have to do is call out to Him, and He is listening.
The Bible says that even the demons must listen and obey when the name of Jesus is spoken.
Luke 10:17, ESV
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."
The name of Jesus brings healing!
Acts 4:10, ESV
…let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.
Acts 3:6, ESV
But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
Only the name of Jesus has the power of salvation for all men (and women).
Acts 4:12, ESV
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
And only the name of Jesus makes us right before God for all eternity, cleansing us from sin.
1 Corinthians 6:11, ESV
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Authority over the demonic world?
Righteousness/justification before a Holy God?
Cleansing from all unrighteousness?
That’s a pretty powerful way to walk around all the time on this planet, assuming you place your trust in the name of Christ.
There is also power in His presence.
He is present in our prayers together.
Matthew 18:20, ESV
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
We are never alone. Immanuel means God with us.
There is power in the Holy Spirit, who lives within us if we have asked Christ to be the Lord of our lives.
Acts 1:8, ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Romans 15:13, ESV
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
If you know Jesus, how can you stay more “plugged in” to the amazing power we have by calling out His name?
If you don’t know Him, do you want to?
Call His name. He will answer you. I'm so glad that I did!
Jeremiah 33:3, ESV
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ground Truth Press, a book publishing company.