Monday, April 6, 2009

Of Chicken Soup and Hard Candies

I know I have an active imagination. It is one of the character traits with which God has blessed me. Sometimes, though, it is really “out there”!

Take, for example, one of my mental images of the Holy Spirit.

Scripture calls the Holy Spirit “The Comforter”. That sounds so sweet and soothing. “There, there, Lisa. Everything will be fine, you will see. Here, let’s get you a nice hot bowl of chicken soup.” Envision a wonderful, gentle grandmother with thick, welcoming arms and an abundant supply of Kleenex. You can almost see the dish of sugar-soldered hard candies on the coffee table.

This Holy Spirit whispers in my ear. “Send that person a note of encouragement.” “Pray for this person.” “Check that pocket before you put those pants in the wash.” “Your daughter could use a phone call today.” “Your son in Japan could use some hand lotion and taco seasoning. Send some when you pack that care package this week.” Seriously. Ask Adam if it isn’t so.

But today, I explored a word and discovered a definition that brings a new dimension to my Comforter. I marvel at the depth of meaning and shake my head at what gets lost in translation.

Comfort comes from the Latin word fortis which means “strength”. Like Fort Knox. Like fortified cereal. (Have you had your Wheaties today? It’s the breakfast of champions!) Like A Mighty Fortress is Our God. Add the prefix com, which is an intensifier, and you get something akin to “powerfully strengthened”. My Comforter does more than just gently pat my shoulder and tell me it will be OK. My Comforter suits me up in God’s armor and climbs in with me. My Comforter encourages and empowers me. “Onward!” is the cry!

That’s a pretty powerful “grandma”, if you ask me. What do you want to bet that comfort-food-soup has got more than just seven essential vitamins and iron? And hey, maybe that stone-hard candy is ammunition for my slingshot. Watch out, Goliath!