Bitter and icy wind cuts through us when we step outside right now, erasing any hope that the sunshine we saw through the windows might warm us up. It's almost May, but still the wind blows and even though I know with certainty that it's coming, summer somehow seems even more distant than it was the previous day. I took to the trail this morning for my run, seeking some protection from the open country roads. Bundling up as if it were November, I pushed the stroller forward, struggling to find my motivation, pace, and rhythm.
I managed a few rocky miles, and Livia fell asleep, the path of least resistance against the wind and cold, I suppose. I finally stopped alongside a few dandelions and slowed to a walk, thankful to be done with the hard, for today anyway.
Relentless air continued to flutter across the path and I heard it rattle a brittle, brown leaf, still hanging on to bare branches from last fall. The months of wind, in all their longevity and force, hadn't yet blown that one away completely. It's the wind that does that though, I realized. It's the wind that blows away the old, making way for the new season. It's the wind that carries the dead away, ahead of a dormant and quiet season of freeze and thaw that is necessary for new growth. It's the wind (and the birds) that scatters seeds to make way for new life.
In my life, it's the wind (and the storms) that force the growth. It's the hard, and the uncomfortable, and the less-than-ideal that point my eyes to Jesus. And it's when the wind blows in our lives, and we persevere and overcome by the grace of God through it, that the eyes of others are pointed to Jesus as they watch Him be greater than the wind (and the waves).
This weekend I chatted with some friends about how we handle the wind... we realized it could either become the wind in our sails, lifting us up and onward toward greater faith and service, or it can become the wind that threatens our peace, destroys our faith, and plunges us into despair.
One of my children is currently battling some "wind" in his life. It is a situation where he has to fight harder to do what is right and I have to parent harder to teach what is right. I feel stress and frustration toward the situation and wonder why it has to be this way. I was convicted this morning as I worked through a Bible study I am doing on the Lord's prayer, when I came to the thought: "Hope in the sovereign rule of God shapes our prayers to align with his wants".
In my son's situation, I have been praying for deliverance for him from the wind... and I have been thinking evil of the wind. But if I truly believe that God, in His sovereignty, can preserve, and even bring about significant growth in, my son as he comes under the influence of this wind, my prayers will change. Instead of pleading for deliverance, I will be pleading with God that His will would be done... which is to save mankind. I will be acknowledging that God is able and desires to bring about salvation and growth, and I will be at peace with that.
Father, when I look at the wind right now... it looks like something that will destroy my son. But God, if you know that you can preserve my children through their windstorms, while also using their lives to point others to Jesus... that is and always has been my deepest desire. So forgive me, Lord, where I am fighting angrily against the manifestations of that, feeling that it's unjust I should have to deal with this, or fearful that you are unable to preserve him. Teach me to pray for the salvation of the world, and not just my own comfort, and teach me to love the wind, when it is the means by which you intend to bring about growth.
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:37-41)