2363) Who Has Seen the Wind? (part two of two)

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do ...


     (…continued) God’s Spirit is like the first warm winds of spring which, after a long winter confinement, invite us out into the freedom of the open fields and playgrounds.  The Holy Spirit invites us, too, out of our bondage to sin and the fear of death, showing us the way to the God’s love and grace.  We are now free again.  “I will send you the Holy Spirit,” said Jesus (John 15:26), “and the Spirit will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13), “and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).

     God’s spirit is also like the violent winds of summer, driving at us with the force and devastation of a tornado.  “God has broken us down,” says Hosea in the Old Testament, “broken us down so that he may build us up” (6:1).  Given the weakness of our old sinful self, God must sometimes resort to such rough treatment.  Like a doctor doing surgery, God must sometimes wound so that he can heal.  Judgment and condemnation of that which is weak and wrong in us is a part of God’s love for us.  We must not say that all bad things are caused by God, because the Bible doesn’t say that.  But the Bible does make it clear that God will indeed send us trouble if some good may come of it.  The Spirit’s work can be compared even to the destroying winds of summer.

     But as I said, not all summer winds are bad.  That blessed summer breeze which gently cools and comforts us is also a fitting image of the Holy Spirit.  Called the “Comforter” by Jesus (John 14:26), the Holy Spirit brings a welcome calm and rest to the weary.  God’s good care of His own has been our source of renewal many times and will be for the rest of our lives.  By granting us forgiveness and assuring us that, even though unacceptable, we are accepted by God into his loving care forever, the Holy Spirit refreshes our spirits and strengthens us for our work, while comforting us in our troubles.

     The Holy Spirit is like the winds of fall, creating a restlessness within us.  What is it that causes the first flock of geese to rise off the northern waters, ascend to great heights, and begin the long flight to their winter home?  What is it within us that prods us out of our listless and carefree moments to think beyond the day to day concerns and look to God and eternity?  It is the Holy Spirit of God which arouses this ‘homing instinct’ within us.  We were created for God, and one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is to create within us a restless longing for something more than this world can ever give.  Augustine said “Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in you.”  The Holy Spirit keeps that restlessness alive, so that we may continue to look toward God.  When I hear the geese flying south in winter, I sometimes wish I could go somewhere else to avoid the cold and the snow.  When I see and feel all the troubles and worries of the world and my own life, I take comfort in the knowledge of that ‘somewhere else’ that God has promised us in his eternal home.

     Finally, the Holy Spirit is like the winds of winter.  The Spirit must sometimes stop us in our tracks and make us acknowledge the limits of our strength.  We can’t control everything, and if life hasn’t taught you that yet, the Holy Spirit will.

     For the Christian, there is a blessing in not being in control, because that we are given the opportunity to look in faith to the one who is in control.  We learn to pray best when we are in trouble.  When we are not in trouble, we may not pray at all.  Paul said (2 Corinthians 12:10), “When I am weak, then I am strong,” meaning when I know my personal limits, I can become stronger in faith by learning to depend on God.  In a weakness which drove him to rely on God, Paul could experience the strength of God’s grace.  On that dark and cold and very windy night in South Dakota, I learned what it means to depend on God, whether I live or die (Romans 14:8).  It was a great comfort to finally get home that night, but the Holy Spirit assures us that no matter what happens here, even when death comes to us here, we still have another home to look forward to arriving at safely.

     We get all sorts of weather in Minnesota, and many different kinds of wind.  Let that wind, in whatever form it comes, be for you a reminder of the work of the Holy Spirit.

     We don’t see the wind, but we do see its effects.  And that is about all that we see of the Holy Spirit, also.

A poem about the wind, but could also be about the Holy Spirit (and perhaps that is what Rossetti, a faithful Christian, had in mind):

“Who Has Seen the Wind”
By Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.


Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being.  We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit that in all the cares and duties of life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Book of Common Prayer