Fresh Wind: Remembering
As I write this, it is early March. It’s a typical March day in Southeastern Pennsylvania: cool, no snow, and very windy. Winnie the Pooh would describe today as a “blustery day.” I live in the woods, so it seems like windy days are more pronounced. The trees are quite tall and they sway precariously back and forth, leaving small traces of themselves in the form of branches all over the yard and driveway.
One of my dogs, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, likes these windy days. When she is let outside she stands perfectly still, facing the wind, nose in the air, actively sniffing, her long ears waving madly behind her. I always wonder what she smells in the wind. Today I hope she smells the promise of spring.
But it is the sound of the wind through the trees that is distinctive. When the wind is particularly strong, the sound is as if a train were traveling nearby, or a large truck chugging its way up the hill. The wind ebbs and flows in intensity, but it is still constant. The noise is almost consuming, and a little unnerving.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]I often wonder what our lives would look like, if we, too, had the experience of the violent wind associated with the Spirit of God. Would it help us to understand the power God has given to us through the Spirit? [/pullquote]The wind reminds me of Pentecost. The time when the Holy Spirit dramatically came to dwell in those who believed in the work of Jesus Christ, the one who had left them only 10 days before. Jesus had promised his people the Spirit, Someone who would help them in their journey of faith from that time forward.
The Spirit was not unknown to the people of the time; they knew the stories of the Holy Spirit from the Old Testament. But the Spirit did not reside in people continuously up to that point. He would come in and out of people’s lives as was necessary according to God’s purposes.
On that day of the original Pentecost, according to Acts 2, the Spirit came into the place where the Disciples were gathered as a “violent wind” in NIV; “a strong, gale force wind” in The Message; or a “rushing, mighty wind” in the KJV. How ever you want to describe it, there is the sense of something you could not miss, something phenomenal. What the Spirit brought was a newness to the disciples’ experience of faith. A fresh encounter meant for their good. From that moment on, nothing was the same. They now had Someone who provided guidance, power, and help whenever they needed it, and, in particular, when they went out to tell the world about the Kingdom of Heaven. This promise from Jesus was not just for the disciples in the room at Pentecost, but for all who follow him in faith.
I often wonder what our lives would look like, if we, too, had the experience of the violent wind associated with the Spirit of God. Would it help us to understand the power God has given to us through the Spirit? Certainly, there have been moments in every Christian’s life when it has been impossible to ignore the sense of the Spirit working in a situation.
However, the daily-ness of our lives often obscures the presence of the Spirit in the days and nights in which we exist.
While I don’t really want to live in that space, I realize I often do. It is a battle of the flesh to move from the mind numbing routines that mark my days, into a place of noticing the work of the Spirit, to live in expectancy of God’s work around me.
Living this kind of intentionality towards God’s presence is not easy. While necessary, even “quiet times” occasionally become stale and habitual. It is so easy to flow through the days without regard for the incredible resources that have been given to me. How does one overcome this state of mind?
I’m not really sure, but I believe I’ve discovered a problem in my life which gets in the way of experiencing God in a mighty way: I keep forgetting that the Spirit is here to help me. I keep forgetting why the Spirit was given to me. I keep forgetting that the Spirit is my source of strength even as I continue to lean on myself to re-charge, find purpose, and seek God.
This forgetting part isn’t working out so well.
Rather than forgetting, what seems to be necessary is the act of remembering.
Remembering who the Spirit is and what the Spirit does. When I practice remembering, I open myself to the One who is my Helper. This One reminds and teaches me to look towards God. I need to remember that the Spirit is here to assist me in sensing the presence of the living God in all aspects of my life.
By remembering, a fresh wind blows over me, and I am like my little Spaniel, facing the wind, sniffing the air, enveloped in the arms of God. In the act of remembering, I become like the disciples at Pentecost, equipped to do the work of God.
It is in this place where I can start my day with a fresh eagerness:
“What will we do today, Spirit? How will Your presence be made known to me today? Where will You take me? Who will we meet for Your purposes?”
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. ~ John 14:26 NASB
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Love this, Becky
I have a very hard time remembering just how powerful the Spirit is and how I can tap into that power if I just ask for it. Thank you for the reminder. (And I love the photo of your super cute Stella!)
I wonder what it would look like in our lives if we did remember to ask…maybe an experiment is in order.
This is so good. I, too, forget that the same power that conquered the grave LIVES in me. What an empowering thing to remind ourselves of every morning!
So true! Thanks Natalie.
I love it! I love breezy days despite not liking to be cold. Makes me think of Emerson & Thoureau who left the busyness of city life to dwell in nature because it brings you closer to nature and more in tune w/God. There’s something to be said of a gale force of the Spirit moving through us, around us and in us if we allow it.
I’m with Thoreau and Emerson. There is something about nature that teaches us about God. I think in nature the clutter is taken away and we are left with the basics. Thanks, Denise!
‘Living this kind of intentionality towards God’s presence is not easy.’Amen, sister! I love your switch from the guilt-inspiring Forgetting, to the wind-in-your-face remembering. Lovely. Just lovely. I don’t think I’ll see the wind the same ever again! Love your nature-inspired observations!
This is great, Becky. I always think of God when I think of the wind. You can’t see it, but you can hear it and you can feel it!
(Can I just say your dog is adorable?)
And the strength of the wind…it can be exhilarating, scary, and wonderful all at the same time. Just like God.
And, yeah, my dog is cute….:)
Becky, this post, I needed it so much. I live with a neurological illness, in fear of the wind. I can’t go out in it, cold wind can put me down and out for days. It can be really discouraging.
From now on I will look at windy days as yet another way that God is reaching out to me, reminding me to rely on Him. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I’m so glad that good can come out of something so bad for you. It’s a great thing to have fellow believers around us to help us be reminded of God’s presence in all sorts of situations. He is there, but, again, we simply forget. Blessings to you, Tara.
I’m so guilty of forgetting about 1/3 of the Godhead. Honestly…and it’s the 1/3 that dwells within me! How rude! I have recently begun trying to pray to the Holy Spirit at least as much as I pray to God and Jesus, more to remind myself that He’s still there, still God, and always with me. Thanks for the reminder of the gift that Holy Spirit is to me, especially while I’m in this tension of now, but not yet with salvation/santification. Heaven can seem so far away, and yet…God in me is closer than close.
That’s the mystery, sin’t it? That we are here living on this earth, yet inhabiting heaven at the same time. Only the Holy Spirit within us can make sense of it all! Thanks Gretchen!