Monday, January 21, 2013

The Wind Blows

Well, winter has arrived in Northwest Indiana.  Today the temperatures are in the single digits and we see a little snow out there.  Travel further Northeast and our friends are getting as much as a foot of snow.  Travel further Northwest and you will find temperatures in the negative double-digits.  Yes winter has finally arrived.

It's easy on a cold day like today to want to stay inside someplace where it's nice and warm.  Some winters this kind of weather has continued over long periods of time.  After a long time of this, people start to go stir crazy.  They want to get out.  They're tired of the cold and snow and wind.

The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. (Ecclesiastes 1:6 NLT)

Solomon was tired of the wind blowing when he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes.  That wasn't the only thing he was tired of seeing.  He spent most of the book talking about how "everything is meaningless."  He wasn't talking this way because he was locked up in his house for a cold, long winter.  On the contrary, Solomon had every luxury and pleasure available to mankind.  Yet he still looked at it all and said "everything is meaningless."  It's as meaningless as watching the wind blow round and round in circles.

Jesus replied, "I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don't be surprised when I say, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can't tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit." (John 3:5-8 NLT)

I'll never forget the experience I had when I first started learning Koine Greek (the original language of the New Testament).  I learned, among other things, that Greek words often have several possible meanings depending on the context of the sentence.  The word for Spirit (pneuma) can also mean wind, current of air movement or breath.  It was so cool to learn that the Spirit of God is as invisible, elusive, and yet perceptively present as the wind.  We can't see it, yet we know it is there.  We can feel it - even, to some extent, measure it.  Yet, we cannot see it, hold on to it, or capture it.  What a beautiful description of the Spirit of God.

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother's womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. (Ecclesiastes 11:5 NLT)

Solomon didn't conclude that everything is meaningless in his book.  He concluded that everything is meaningless without the existence of God.  He concluded that God gives life and breath and purpose to life.  We find meaning when we follow him.  That remains just as true today as it has ever been.  With God, nothing is meaningless.

And God has given us His Spirit as proof that we live in Him and He in us. (1 John 4:13 NLT)

Now that I hear the wind blowing outside, I remember God's Spirit.  I'm reminded that life is not meaningless but is filled with purpose.  I remember that He has given me His Spirit and, through His Spirit, a purpose for my day.  He has placed a calling on my life.  He has given me specific gifts to use in that calling.  He has given me the wisdom I ask to receive and the power to follow that wisdom...all through His Spirit.  That's what I think about when the wind blows.  What do you think about when the wind blows?