The childhood days are gone when sticking my head out the car window, like my furry canine companions, felt so exhilarating. I loved that feeling of the torrent of wind hitting my face, swirling my hair into hundreds of tiny knots. Now, too lazy to work knots out, I find stretching my arm out and oscillating my hand in the swift current of wind more pleasurable. Though the elasticity of my skin is more noticeable, as I battle against the wind’s force, there is a gale of freedom: turn up the music and ride as if the road doesn’t end.
I want to be stable, sure of my direction, fulfilled in my purpose. The challenge is that life doesn’t always feel that way, and certainly doesn’t always turn out the way I fancy it should. Though I may try hard to pick myself up by my bootstraps, when those straps break, it feels defeating. As if I just can’t quite catch up. The whimsical reminder of grappling with the unseen elements of life is found in A. A. Milne’s poem “The Wind On the Hill,”
It’s flying somewhere
As fast as it can,
I couldn’t keep up with it,
Not if I ran.
However, there is a more nefarious connotation of wind. When applied to the ebb and flow of life I don’t want to be blown all over. There is more than a quip of wisdom in A. A. Milne’s allegory. For there is a benefit to know the impact of the wind without experiencing being tossed about within it yourself,
But if I stopped holding
The string of my kite,
It would blow with the wind
For a day and a night.
And then when I found it,
Wherever it blew,
I should know that the wind
Had been going there too.
Our sin is like the wind. The bulk of our existence on Earth is preoccupied with the movement of sin. The mere vastness of sin’s strength, range of tempo, and duration are mind blowing. We see the effects of wind all around us, just like we see the effects of sin all around us. Sin’s enticement can be as pleasant as the gentle breeze blowing on a summer afternoon, or with the gusto of a hurricane pending its strike on land. Either way, the impact of sin is like that on the autumn leaf swept in the Fall’s blustery weather (Isaiah 64:6).
Happiness is also like the wind; easily carried away to wherever it ceases. We chase it. We hope to catch enough happiness at least to bottle it up for memory sake. Controlled by the pursuit of happiness we subject ourselves to the whims of change. Without the weight of truth, we waver in the unrest of unbelief, unsure of where we will end up. Securing our own happiness is like trying to gather the wind in my fist (Proverbs 30:4).
- What sin has satisfied my soul?
- What happiness has left my soul not craving more?
- Have I been able to gather my sin and happiness in my fist with total control?
- By what method can I restrain the ‘winds’ of life?
There is only One way, One True answer, for the One life given.
Truth is an unshakable anchor to our soul, like the string on a kite, to hold us in place against the prevailing currents of present temptation. This wrestling, the taunting jerk of the strings, on the soul is the journey of life. Sometimes, too weary to battle, too frail to fight, we may ponder “What if I let go?” This is why we must guard and “renew,” our thoughts, in order to change the habits of the mind and speak God’s truth daily to our self.
I need to stop striving after the wind to find sin’s cultural acceptance. I need to stop striving after the wind to find happiness within myself or something else (Ecclesiastes 2:11). I need to seek truth and find rest for my soul. For this is where joy takes root and peace quiets the tempest in my soul. When I delight in the nearness of God I find:
Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
– Proverbs 4:5
Our purpose is to be takers of God’s blessings, pleasures, and truth. Our calling is to be givers and sharers in His righteousness and ordinances to one another. Joy is our discovery when we settle in the purpose of our experience: “to know God and make Him known.” The Gospel’s aim is to bring God near and draw our hearts to Him; a call of freedom for the soul.
Yet they seek me day by day and delight to know my ways, as a nation that has done righteousness, and has not forsaken the
ordinance of their God. They ask me for just decisions, they delight in the
nearness of God. – Isaiah 58:2
How quickly I forget. Sin is present. Happiness is fleeting. But, truth remains against every odd to extend Love’s reach from the realm of the infinite into our earthly experience of time and space.
For behold, he who forms the mountains
and creates the wind, and declares
to man what is His thought,
who makes the morning darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth—
the Lord, the God of hosts, is His name!
– Amos 4:13
So that we may no longer be children,
tossed to and fro by the waves and
carried about by every wind of doctrine,
by human cunning, by craftiness
in deceitful schemes.
– Ephesians 4:14
The power of the Gospel speaks loudest in the battles for my mind to be renewed, my will to be aligned, and my emotions to be calmed by the God of our Salvation. For it is He alone who can speak, “Peace be still,” and reassuringly call out “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest” (Mark 4:39; Matthew 11:28-29).
Courage, by Stuart Townend