It has been said that you can’t see the wind but you can know its presence and power. It can come like a blast and just as quickly diminish to a whisper, or it can build in strength and remain with unmistakable presence for days. It can drive in a storm or clear it away.
The wind has its moods. At times it is a gentle breeze rustling leaves with a woodsy white noise and fanning ripples on the waters of an ebbing tide; peaceful, restful, soothing to the soul. Other times it is a strong blow bending branches and swaying trees while kicking up whitecaps on waves that break on shore; powerful, frightful, awakening to the spirit. Indeed, with a mind of its own the wind will blow how and where it may. The breeze fills billowing sails, driving two-masted schooners through restless water, and just as easily fills the lungs with freshened air, breathing life into weary souls who stop to take it in. I was that weary soul. Then came the wind…
Arriving with packed bags and equally packed mind to a cottage graciously made available for me, I noticed a summer breeze blowing through oak leaves at the edge of Casco Bay. The waters were stirred by the wind and so was my soul. I stopped, drew in a deep breath, and sighed. I was finally there at last; refuge, retreat, rest. Our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee. (St. Augustine). I had come to meet with God. I ached for it. This was a place of solitude and sanctuary; my “Elijah Cave.”
Breathing in the building breeze, I let it cleanse me, clear me and open me. As I did the words of an old Keith Green song came to my mind, Rushing wind blow through this temple blowing out the dust within, come and breathe your breath upon me; I’ve been born again. Settling in to pray and read that first day the quiet breeze was soothing, so much so that eventually I fell asleep! The wafting air wrapped around me like strokes of angels wings and I rested quieted, comforted in the Presence. I didn’t need to do. I just needed to be.
Day two was a different story. I was once again in prayer and the Word for a season, and then picked up a book to read that I had brought for study. Soon a strong wind began to pick up and blow with building intensity right out of the west. In time I noticed that it did not come to push out a storm system from the night before, rather, it had come to stay. All day long it blew as a gale against the cottage porch windows, rattling them in an uneasy sort of way. I tried to ignore the wind, and study, but my attention was continually drawn to its power and presence. Its affect was clearly visible as towering oaks yielded and swayed to its force. Waves fell over themselves to make it to shore. Even the seagulls seemed to be grounded. There was a fury to the wind where all creation was coming under its influence. My spirit was awakened. This too I needed.
But why this transfixed attention? Why this obsession with the wind? It was the only way my Lord could speak through the noise of the Necessary and the din of Demands that had rendered me deaf to His voice and deadened to His heartbeat. I was in desperate need of spiritual renewal.
I was in need of intimacy with His Spirit. Ruach in Hebrew, Pneuma in Greek. Both mean wind, breath, spirit. The wind all around me, this summer breeze, was a divine wind in disguise to focus my need of the breath of the Spirit to fill me again. Although powerful spiritually the Holy Spirit is present personally, and I needed and received both.
Individually, we all need the wind of the Spirit to come with presence and power to restore our weary souls and quicken our deadened hearts. As disciples of Jesus Christ, imbued by the Spirit within, we still find ourselves spiritually wanting at times, or even for seasons of times. We need fresh wind, fresh fire (to steal from Jim Cymbala’s book title). And when we call upon the Spirit of God, he comes… how and when he may. As Jesus said to inquiring Nicodemus one night (perhaps standing outside, in a cool evening breeze), The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. (Jn 3:8).
Corporately, we sometimes need to renew our knowledge of, and intimacy with, the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead. We need to be aware of his works among us, his filling and empowering within us, the evident fruit of his presence among us and special gifting of us. And especially, we need to be spiritually attuned to his guidance as we seek to know and do the will of God.
So, perhaps you will encounter a summer breeze in this season of your spiritual journey. May you take time to stop and take it in. Are you in need of soul rest, spirit revival? The wind of the Spirit is the very power and presence of God. Will you ask for Him, and wait for Him. Will you yield and come under His influence, come what may, when comes the wind?
“Holy Spirit, I surrender.
Take me where you want to go.
Plant me by the living waters.
Plant me deep so I may grow.”
Keith Green – Rushing Wind