I read this week from Diane Neal Matthews, who made an interesting point about Annie Sullivan. You might remember that Sullivan, who was born in 1866, had experienced severe illness early in childhood. Consequently, she was left nearly blind. After three surgeries, risky for her era, she recovered most of her vision.
As a young woman, Sullivan moved to Alabama to help a rebellious, six-year-old girl named Helen Keller. Helen was blind, deaf, and unable to speak. Accordingly, the world did not make sense to Keller.
Annie Sullivan arrived to serve Helen Keller—teaching her to discern right and wrong, good behavior and bad behavior. Thus, Helen Keller experienced life in a more healthy and productive way. Helen Keller’s world began to make sense.
Many people, according to the Apostle Paul, cannot discern how to live in their world. Paul says in First Corinthians 2:14, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The Holy Spirit helps people to determine how to live. He gives people a sense of vision. He helps people to avoid foolish mistakes.
Next time you ponder the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit, think of Annie Sullivan ministering to Helen Keller. Their story serves as a good word picture for the gracious ministry of the Holy Spirit.