On a search for a better world, finding it in the most unlikely places
Let me tell you two stories – a story about wind, and a story about beauty. These stories appear unrelated, but they float around in our big universe, as all stories do, building this thing we like to call life. People might call me crazy, but I’m dead serious when I say that the wind has spoken to me. People might also take their judgment of crazy and place it upon the One who told me to consider the wind in the first place. Maybe they’ll even paint crazy on the vessel He used to pour His message of the wind into me.
One night in June, I was sitting at home (I lead a very glamorous life) after spending a week with people that I adore; people that I consider family. At this point I was particularly distraught, because I had done some talking to God during that week, and He had given me a seemingly uncomfortable piece of His plan. As I sat there and moped, (remember, glamorous life) I began to talk to one of those friends I had just spent the week with. I can’t remember exactly how our conversation went, but I remember him saying, “You know, I feel like God is telling me to tell you to look to the wind. I don’t know if it has any significance, and I am a little tired. Maybe just wait and see if anything comes of it.”
Of course, my first reaction was, “What the crap?! What kind of hippie is he?” Then as I thought about it a little more, I remembered how God had shown me things that may have seemed crazy. I remembered that He is a mystical God, which is to say that He refuses to function within our parameters. Since that day, the wind thrust itself into significance. The following Sunday, after I talked to my friend, my mopiness and I traipsed into the church building. We meandered over to my seat; I sat down, and mopey sat on my shoulders. My pastor was teaching verse-by-verse through the book of Mark. That Sunday we picked up with Mark 6:45-52. You know – The part of the story where Jesus walked on the water.
Verse 51 particularly stuck out to me. “Then He got in the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded.” When I allow Jesus to get into the boat with me, I allow my storms, my worries, and my distress to cease. Jesus is Lord of even the wind…
A few months later, a less mopey more restless version of me was sitting in a Bible study. (You see, I am preparing to travel to India for six months and my mind was in turmoil over how it is going to pan out.) There was a woman teaching about the life of David. She was relating a story from second Samuel chapter 5. This is the one thing I remember about that night: David was told to wait for the wind in the Balsam trees – to let God go ahead of him. For me, this means I am to wait for God’s wind. Sitting at my desk in my office some days later, still quite restless about life, my phone began to buzz. Looking down at it, I saw that I had a message from a friend who knew nothing of my experiences with the wind. His text message read, “I can feel God in the wind.” I was blown away. I went outside and stood in the wind. I felt my Savior gently speaking to me. “El Shaddai does not forget, child.” I walked back to my office with a very large grin on my face and peace’s gentle breeze in my heart.
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been reading The Shack. The Shack is the story of a man named Mack and his encounter with God in the most painful place his past has to offer. God presents Himself to this man as three people who are one entity – Papa (The Father), Jesus (The Son), and Sarayu (The spirit). As I have delved deeper into this man’s experience, I have, myself, begun to encounter my Savior. He has once again revealed the wind to me. As I read deeper I came to find that the meaning of the word Sarayu is wind. God’s Wind dwells within me. As I thought about this more, I recalled the Greek class I took. This brought to my head the Greek word for Spirit (πνεύμα) which also means wind. God has given His wind to us.
While reading The Shack, and encountering my Savior, I once again became excited about being a part of His Kingdom: His body and the personification of Beautiful Love. I was once again talking to my friend, and once again I cannot remember our conversation at all, but I remember the sudden feeling of my Father’s joy that overwhelmed my entire being. I felt like dancing, jumping, singing, running, and shouting all at once. I did what anyone with a super glamorous life would do. I finished cleaning my bathroom and I took a walk to just spend time out in creation. At one point, I remember stopping.
“Papa,” I said. “Speak to me.” At that moment, in an unmistakably noncoincidental sort of way, the wind started blowing all around me. I felt the very presence of my God. In His wind, He gave me these words: “Put the pieces of your life in My wind so that I might blow you away.” These were words that Sarayu almost exactly reiterated several days later as I was reading. That has been my prayer ever since then. Let me tell you, my friends… Letting His wind guide me has proven to be the most effective way of learning and knowing, and being known by Him. It is also the most effective way to live out the mission of His Kingdom – The most effective way to love.
It makes my second story possible. My second story is very short, but it is the very embodiment of the Kingdom.
There is a man, standing in the back of a room. He is mentally handicapped. Some may call him dumb, but I would firmly disagree. This is why: He stands in the back of this room. Songs of his Jesus surround him. His hands and face are raised to heaven, and while he may not be knowledgeable in the world’s eyes, he possesses knowledge of much greater worth. He has abandoned himself to the love of His Savior. This is beauty; this is the Kingdom: Love.