The Holy Spirits Transforming Power

man in blue jacket riding bicycle on dirt road during daytime

The podcast Radiolab featured a story about competitive bikepacking, a sport in
which participants must backpack on a bike, across hundreds of miles, while in
isolation from the physical or even emotional support of other people (no
“physical drafting” or “mental drafting” off other people is allowed). “If someone
who cares about you is there, we make different choices,” says one bikepacker.
Also interviewed was Jim Coan, professor of psychology at the University of
Virginia; he has studied the physical and brain impact of the presence of a loved
one in a stressful situation. When a person was exposed to stressful input, their
physical stress responses soared when alone, but when a loved one held their
hand, the physical stress responses were negligible. “It threw up this forcefield
that protected her from the threat of [the stressful input]. It made her feel on
some level as if it wasn’t really a threat at all” (“Alone Enough,” Radiolab, aired
March 24, 2023, on The Holy
Spirit’s presence functions in a similar way, at least in part. The Spirit transforms
our responses and experiences, enabling us to live out what would previously be
prohibitively stressful with greater courage and confidence.