In the book of Galatians the Apostle Paul talks about the fruit of the Spirit. The context helps us understand that if we are true believers, God's Spirit will live within us and manifest Himself in us through certain "fruit": Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. For the last two years I have perceived a serious withering of the fruit within me. I have prayed often and sincerely for God's Spirit to awaken within me and once again produce a harvest.
Recently I have felt my prayers being answered. It started happening a few months ago when I stopped trying to manipulate God, conceded His Lordship over me and submitted (to the best of my weak ability) myself into His sole keeping (My soul keeping).
On the field trip to Denali, I came my closest yet to feeling the reactivation of the fruit of the Spirit in my life.
Love, joy, peace all welled up within me standing on a mountaintop. I know many of you have had this "mountaintop" experience and know what I'm talking about. Feeling small and insignificant at the same time you feel integrated into God's enormous imagination is both humbling and affirming. The fruit of the Spirit is fraught with paradox.
Any road trip involving seven diverse and colorful personalities (including you, Emily and Karen if you're reading this) will tap into your patience. It's either that or harikari.
Gentleness, kindness, goodness have been evident on the surface these last few years, but they haven't been too heartfelt. I've been too preoccupied with myself. An elderly gentleman named Tom drew them out of me as he confided some personal struggles he's faced recently. His eyes were sad but trusting and I wanted to pray with him and offer the comfort that I have received in such abundance. He picked me some wild raspberries on the side of the road as we walked together. It just felt good and right.
Faithfulness: Bouncing along the road, sharing songs, telling jokes, oooing and ahhhing at the sights, scrambling for the best shots, silence on the mountaintop, dinner with new and interesting people in Fairbanks (members of the Christian pilot's association), all renewed my faith in the goodness of God and His promise to "satisfy my desires with good things..."
It was a lighthearted trip for the most part and I had a wonderful time.
And about self-control: that just wasn't a problem.