Chocolate milk. My brother loved it as a kid. He would have a glass of chocolate milk with every meal and maybe one before bed. I remember one time he was getting ready to make a big glass of chocolate milk, but he had to get the syrup to the top of the bottle. So, he grabbed the bottle by its bottom and started making a windmill motion with his arm. This is something he had done many times (it works rather well because physics), but this time, he hit the top of the container against the kitchen counter. The top broke and chocolate syrup sprayed all over the ceiling, the floor, everywhere. It was a mess. (I can’t harp on my brother too much, though, because I once gave the family dog a milk bath when I knocked my glass of milk off the counter). For such a simple drink made of only two ingredients, who would have thought chocolate milk could be a symbol for the Holy Spirit?
I had someone give me this metaphor this past week. Kinda cheesy, but it works for my visual-minded, child-like brain. When we are baptized as Christians, the Holy Spirit is like the chocolate syrup when it’s put in the glass of milk. It sinks to the bottom of the glass and remains settled until it’s stirred. When the chocolate syrup is stirred into the milk, it changes the composition of the drink. In a similar way, the Holy Spirit is in all of us, but until it’s stirred, we don’t know its full potential.
We do know that Jesus sends the third person of God after His death:
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans: I will come to you.” -John 14:16-18
(More references: Acts 2:3-4, 38-39)
And we know that God not only sends us a helper, but He sends one with power:
“It will come to pass in the last days, God says, ‘that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall see dreams.” -Acts 2:17
The Holy Spirit isn’t chocolate syrup, though. The crazy thing, and sometimes the most frustrating thing, is that the Holy Spirit is a mystery. We have such a clear image of Jesus Christ and God the Father, but what does the Holy Spirit look like? A dove? A tiny flame above someone’s head? Really? How am I supposed to talk to a bird or a tiny ball of hot?
This past week, all the missionaries-in-training went through a Holy Spirit retreat. We learned about the power and gifts the Holy Spirit gives to us if we ask for God to stir up the chocolate syrup in the glass of milk. So, I prayed. I prayed that the Holy Spirit, the third person in the one true God, would talk to me in some way or another despite my inability to imagine His face or appearance.
At the end of the retreat, we got into small groups and prayed over each other. During that time, the Holy Spirit did reveal Himself to me, a very small piece but a piece nonetheless. He spoke truths into my heart through the prayer of others, one of which was:
“I’m already working inside you.”
And that’s the truth. The Holy Spirit is working in me and He is working in the world. Maybe, just maybe, all we have to do is ask God to pick up the spoon and stir the cup.