Last night I did a sleep study over at the Sleep Disorders Center in B'ham ... very interesting experience! All the people I dealt with were super nice, but the study itself is just a bit unsettling. After I got settled in to my little room and watched some basketball, a young man came in around 10:00 and hooked me up with wires ... at least 20 or so connected to my head, chest, face, nose, legs, abdomen, etc. I asked the guy if he inwardly laughed at every patient he does this to - you literally look like something off a sci-fi movie. Now try to rest comfortably with all these wires attached all over your body. And if that's not weird enough, just look up on the wall at the camera and know that someone is watching you! Now ... try to go to sleep so someone can watch and monitor your every breath, eye movement, heart, legs, oxygen, and whatever else the aliens in the spaceship hovering above want to know about you.
So after a period of restless sleep they come in again to place this mask over your nose - another attractive and comfortable apparatus to attach to your body. At first I thought this mask wasn't so bad - he actually had me try it out earlier before even being attached to all the wires. But very quickly it became a nuisance ... not that it was uncomfortable on my face, but that it was forcing air up through my nose in ways that felt like I was a dog sticking my head out the car window while cruising down the Interstate at 70 mph. I think I actually started to panic a bit - broke out in a sweat, started pulling covers off, seriously considered ripping that thing off my face and screaming into the intercom for help. But as a grown-up I had to keep reminding myself that lots of other folks have successfully endured and survived this process. And, sure enough, after about an hour I sort of relaxed and realized it was okay, that it might actually be a good thing, that there was true benefit to this!
As I lay in this strange place I literally started thinking about the Holy Spirit ... that He is described in God's Word as a "wind." Both Hebrew and Greek words for "spirit" are rooted in the idea of wind or breath. On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 the Spirit is described as a "mighty rushing wind." In John 3:8 we read, "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." This wind blowing into me reminded me that the Holy Spirit also often discomforts us, takes us to places where we initially feel unsettled, even causes a bit of panic to enter our hearts where we think we just can't do it, we can't go on, we're not going to get through this in one piece. But as the Spirit continues His work in us, still blowing a bit uncomfortably into our lives, He settles us down and helps us to realize everything is okay, that this might actually be a good thing, that there is true benefit to what the Spirit is doing in my life right now. Yes, it's unsettling but He's working for my good and ultimate spiritual health and well-being.
I look forward to using my new CPAP and am praying that every time I put it on I will be reminded of the Holy Spirit and His gracious work in my life. They say I'll quickly get accustomed to the machine and won't even notice it; in fact, I'll come to depend on it and wouldn't trade it for anything. This is also what I'm praying happens to me spiritually - that I become accustomed to the work of the Spirit in my life, that I'll daily depend on His indwelling power, and that I'll not quench His unsettling work as He convicts me of sin, assures me of salvation, sanctifies me by grace, leads me to greater faith in Christ, and produces obedience in my life.