Friday, October 8, 2010

The Wind Blows North and the Wind Blows South

In the original Biblical languages, the words for "breath," "spirit," and "wind" are the same. Indeed, God's Spirit is likened to the wind several times in the Bible, the best-known example being John 3:8: "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." The ancients lived in awe of the wind's power, and it was a short step to equating it with the power of gods. (See "Wind" in the Holman Bible Dictionary for additional insights.)

Even today, the wind often seems as mysterious as life itself. We have learned what causes wind, but we still can't see it. We can predict its behavior and effects to some degree, but only to some degree. We can harness some of its power, but we have no control over its strength or direction. And as any hurricane or tornado survivor knows, the wind can be one of God's best tools for reminding us how flimsy our delusions of grandeur are.

When God asked, "What is the way to... the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?" (Job 38:24), He wasn't giving a science quiz but reminding Job that human beings don't know enough to dictate how the world should be run. When a wind you don't like--literal or metaphorical--blows through your life and leaves a mess behind, it doesn't help to complain about the unfairness of it all.

What does help is remembering that the One Who does know where Earth's winds come from and where they go--Who, in fact, controls the whole process--is also big enough to direct the "tornadoes" in our lives for ultimate good.

The wind blows north and the wind blows south:
No one sees it or knows where it flies,
But we feel its full force
As it drives on its course;
And the leaves that it flails
And the clouds that it sails
Are as clear as the light to our eyes.

Our God moves swiftly to do great works:
No one sees Him or knows all His mind,
But the world He has made
All before us is laid;
And the strength that He weaves
In each heart that believes
Is as simple as asking to find.

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