The wind is wild, and weird, and wonderful––and I’ve been thinking about it more than usual . Maybe it’s because I’ve driven through Limon several times in the last month. Maybe it’s because my hair is getting thinner, and every little gust seems to whistle across my scalp. Or maybe it’s because I’m from Oklahoma, and the wind is in my soul.
I was five when I first heard the tornado siren, and understood what it was trying to say. Coincidentally, I had also just watched the “Wizard of Oz”. Thus, as my father hurried us down the rickety, wooden stairs to the basement––down where the smells of clay, and mildew, and furnace dust mingled with my childhood fears––I was certain our home would soon be relocated, far away in some phantasmic world. To my surprise, when the sickening, green clouds had come and gone, we were still living on 39th Street.
If, however, one lives in Oklahoma long enough, he eventually understands not all tornados pass by so politely. On the afternoon of May 20, 2013, a monstrous EF5 struck Moore, Oklahoma, (a few miles east of the neighborhood in which I grew up), with peak winds estimated at 210 mph. It killed 24 people and injured 377 others. None of them made it to their basements. Nothing presumed immovable was left standing. Nobody but the weatherman saw it coming. And he was underground when it hit.
It seems odd to me that the wind can be so destructive on one day, and so peaceful the next. Sometimes it skips out of the Rocky Mountains and pushes the boats around Chatfield Lake for an afternoon. Other times it rips those same boats right off their moorings, and sends them hurtling away into the whitecaps. And occasionally, the wind is nowhere to be found. The only sure thing one knows about the wind is that it cannot be controlled.
Men of MHC, I want to speak with you now about a different kind of wind––a kind the Bible refers to as the Holy Spirit. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:2) Now, in the same way the Bible refers to the other members of the Trinity with pronouns and titles we can understand, (i.e. “He”, “Him”, “Father”, “Son”, etc.), the Spirit is also meant to be understood and experienced personally. Nevertheless, like the wind, the Holy Spirit is often taken for granted––until, that is, our lives are adrift on a dead-calm sea, and we need a little help to get somewhere. Like the wind, the Holy Spirit does whatever He wishes, whenever He wishes it, and without our consultation. He is the very breath in our lungs… the Comforter sent to help us… the author of the Holy Bible… the God of the universe, actually living inside believers. Why then, I wonder, do we ignore Him? Worse––why do we resist Him?
Over the next few posts, I’m going to talk about ways a Christian man can engage with this mighty wind––particularly in the areas of work, play, creativity, and relationships. If you’ve ever imagined there was something more to this thing we call, “Christianity”, I hope you’ll read this blog and let it enrich your life. Or––to put it more simply––I hope your little sailboat will find itself lifted up onto the swells beneath you, and transported at such new and exhilarating speeds that your life will never be the same.
Consider this blog post as the tornado siren––and your response to it as vital.