In the last week or so, I have seen and felt the effects of the wind in inescapable ways. I first reflected on this the other day while I was on my way to the YMCA. The wind was unexpected to me because the sun was shining and, according to the news, it was relatively warm out. I got into the car while it was in my garage and hadn’t really noticed that the trees were swaying. I didn’t realize that it was a blustery kind of day. Really, it wasn't until I turned north out of my neighborhood that I felt the effects of blast of the winds blowing from the west.
I actually started thinking about the effects of the wind that day because I had to physically and mentally attend more to my driving. If I had not held tight onto the wheel and kept my eyes trained on the road ahead, I surely would have “blown off” the side of the road. When the wind was broken by the woods, the car over adjusted in the opposite direction than it was formerly inclined to blow. Once I got back on course, the woods would end and the blast would occur again. With my eyes focused on the road, there was no visible evidence of the wind – nothing to alert me that something was happening. However, the force of the wind on my car was immense.
As I made my turn east, something wonderful happened. The car was no longer being pushed to the side. I could relax my grip. The muscles throughout my body took a collective sigh. Now, rather than being in a path of opposition to the wind, I was in line with the wind. This was a much more pleasant place to be.
Yesterday, I again had the experience of the wind...this time with the full onslaught of a heavy snow storm to accompany it. While returning from the YMCA with Elly and Ben, I stopped our van to help a man and his son who were stuck as they tried to navigate a turn off exit. The wind whipped the snow as the son and I removed snow from the tires and pushed and rocked the car. The dad, who spoke little English, eventually encouraged me to try and drive, perhaps thinking I was either better equipped to handle the winter driving or weaker than he might be to push. Eventually the car came out, but I was soaking wet from the snowy blasts of wind. The drive up to that moment had already been hairy. The remainder of the drive left me white knuckled with near white out conditions, a testament to the effects of the wind on a snowy day.
Part way through writing this, I was called away to go help our next door neighbour get unstuck from her driveway. This crazy snow storm is causing all kinds of havoc. At any rate, as we finished up, something caught my eye. Up above the tree line immediately behind our house, was a giant bald eagle soaring in and out of the wind currents. Just as I thought the elegant eagle would plummet from a push of the wind, it caught itself and mounted up again. At first, I thought maybe it was hunting but quickly dismissed this idea as I watched. I am pretty confident that the eagle was just playing; perhaps enjoying the ride or relishing the challenge of wind surfing. It made no headway and did not dive with any apparent purpose. I thought to myself, “how cool is it that I get to see this right now – in the middle of a blustery snowy day, when I’m writing about the wind.”
From the first instance above, the thought that crossed my mind when I turned eastward down Co Rd. 42 was this: How much is this wind like the directing of God in my life? When I choose to “go with the flow” of God’s calling and direction in my life, things, for the most part, seem to go smoother. When I am in God’s word (the Bible), in God’s presence (prayer), and in God’s will (doing those things that bring Him glory), I am slower to anger, quicker to love, and overall in a better place. My heart, my mind, and my spirit all can rest more contently. There may be work to be done to keep in that path, but once on that path, the ride is surely smoother.
Well, a few days after I had that beautiful analogy in my mind, there came the snowstorm, car stuck in a ditch moment. Did my analogy fall apart in that instant???? Here I am, doing what I think Jesus would do in such a situation, but I end up wet and cold and sore, fighting the wind. I think the above analogy still stands. However, I realize that a new wind image comes into play – the same one that Peter experienced in his water walking moment with Jesus (he saw the wind and was afraid). Winds and storms of life do come – sometimes with devastating affects – but when we are grounded (actually rooted) in Christ, then the storms do not need to overwhelm us. Yesterday, in spite of my wet head and clothes, I felt a sense of accomplishment and confidence from helping someone else, getting the car unstuck, and making it home in one piece. Even though the winds were raging, I was doing what I was meant to do in that moment – stepping outside of myself and giving. Why? Because that is a part of what God’s will for me is – doing those things that bring Him glory and those things which are of benefit to another. And, I dare never forget the pain and discomfort that Jesus suffered, fighting the storms on my behalf when he went to the cross.
Again, today, I saw the effects of the wind, but in a very different light. While other animals seem to be hiding from the wind, the eagle was soaring and playing in the wind. In that moment, I imagine the eagle could have felt like the wind was made just for him. While he couldn’t physically see the wind, he could feel the wind filling its wings and lofting him skyward, energizing him. Perhaps, the eagle looks for signs of the wind so he knows where it will get the best flying fun. It made me think of the quote from Billy Graham that goes something like:
Can you see God? You haven't seen him? I've never seen the wind. I see the effects of the wind, but I've never seen the wind. There's a mystery to it.
I can’t physically see God, but I can absolutely see the effects of God in my life and in the lives of others. While I want more than anything to be in line with God’s will and doing the things that God would want me to do, even at a cost, I also want to be more and more like the eagle. More and more, I want to find the effect of the Spirit of God and observe evidence of the One who made so much, as if it was made just for me. I want to have my eyes wide open and my senses alert so that I would never miss the miracle of a moment or the joy that comes within it. I want to see God in the simple and rejoice in the everyday, ever expecting for something outstanding to come from the Giver of Life. I want to see more clearly.
The wind continues to blow outside. The snow is still coming down. The kids are getting wound up from another day inside and my desire would be to curl up under a warm blanket for a while. I have a feeling, just now, that if I followed my gut (and curled up away from the world), I would miss some effects of the wind. So, I will end this now, go with the flow, do what I ought to do, and play with my kids.