Winds blow where they want; I have no control. This is a mystery. “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” (John 3:8).
This morning I rode my bike on the river road. It is different every morning as I enjoy the beautiful flowers, flowing river and green meadows. Yet, this morning the usual stillness was broken by strong northwest winds causing everything to have a new look and feel. It wasn’t cold mind you on this mid-August dawn it was just refreshing. Winds are not always refreshing. In fact this same wind on my late December morning bike rides is cold and almost foreboding. This contrast seems a lot like the contrast I am experiencing in the world today. The love that the Apostle Paul speaks about in 1 Corinthians 13, the one that is kind and gentle, not rude seems to have left the building. I recall President George HW Bush taking about a “kinder and gentler nation.” Wow, this concept with the 1,000 points of light may still exist, but it is sublimated by loud rancor and hatred. Paul speaks about this in saying, “put to death therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature; sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed…but now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these; anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips…put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator…therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…And be thankful” (Colossians 3:8-15 selected verses).
Our country was founded upon certain inalienable rights, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
These are rights “given by God.” God is in control of all things, not us humans. The apostles were in a boat with Jesus rowing over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee when a furious wind came up lifting high the waves. They were “afraid of drowning,” crying out to Jesus, who was asleep in the stern. He awakened and rebuked the wind-“Quiet! Be still!” bringing an instant calm as He asked them why they were so afraid. They were “terrified” and asked each other who is this? “Even the winds and the waves obey Him” (Mark 4:41). Indeed, it is true; all created things obey the Lord God Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-17). It is sometimes harder to remember this when the world seems, as He predicted, to be falling apart.
The Winds of War is a novel by Herman Wouk bringing much wisdom: “Peace, if it ever exists, will not be based on the fear of war, but on the love of peace. It will not be the abstaining from an act, but the coming of a state of mind.” He was not necessarily speaking of the state of mind and heart that is in Christ Jesus. Yet that is the only way to peace. He is telling us that even in the storms of life that He is in control and sovereign over all. He will let us destroy or devour one another in our God given free will. In our natural state, without God as our rudder and center we are capable of the most heinous acts. So, as I began this essay, it is only by being filled with God’s Holy Spirit that we can walk in righteousness and not envy and pride thinking ourselves better. The truth is that failing new birth we cannot understand or walk in God’s ways. “I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). As the Apostle John said of this, “Apart from Him I can do (or am) nothing.” James would say of these trials and temptations we experience that we must consider them “pure joy,” asking God for wisdom. If we doubt, we will be “like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6) and “the wind blows away” (Psalm 1:4).