by Heather Bock
I’m in the middle of a drawing for an NIV Adventure Bible: Polar Exploration Edition! Make sure to read to end to find out how to enter.
A few days ago, I walked out in the afternoon into the wild embrace of an unpredictable wind. It swirled around unexpectedly, tearing golden and scarlet leaves off their branches, sending them scattering through the street. I looked in amazement at the feather-like streaking of cirrus clouds mingled with the odd-shaped cumulus clouds it produced, high, high above me.
Later, I took my daughter to swim practice before work, and I opted to sit in the car while I waited. When I started to grow warm, I rolled the windows partway down, but soon changed my mind and put them back up as the wind reached in and ruffled the top of my hair, pulling out the whispies to stand on end. I laughed as I remembered how my dad hated wind, the way it would pull his hair out of its perfect precision-combed style. The man lived on top of a hill where gusts abounded, and I recall a discussion I had with him then about the merits of the wind, with him heartily disagreeing. Although he didn’t use these words, he didn’t like the feeling of being out of control that the wind brings.
You have to let go of control when you’re in the wind.
Then I remembered that the word used for the Holy Spirit in the Bible is the Hebrew word “ruakh,” which also translates to breath or wind. Used throughout the Old Testament, this is the word for the Holy Spirit–divine wind sometimes gentle as a breath, sometimes hurricane force. In the New Testament, the Greek word is “pneuma,” which is primarily used for the Holy Spirit, but also is connected with breath and wind.
You have to let go of control when you’re with the Holy Wind, too. Just like the wind, He doesn’t follow our precisely combed plans.
I’m especially feeling this right now as I enter into the world of foster care. Greg and I are finished with all we need to do to be certified, but because of the number of people going through foster training right now and the fact that our foster agency just became approved to be an adoption agency as well–a huge praise for us since our end goal is adoption–we’re in a waiting period. What we had hoped would be one day after our last class has stretched to one month.
If it had been up to me, I would already have a child in my arms right now, but it’s (thankfully) not in my control. God knows which child particularly needs our family and when that child will need us. Like Mary Poppins coming in on the breeze, God will blow that child to us when the time is right. From what I’ve heard about foster care, our family will likely go through more than one tornado before we have the privilege to call one of those neglected or abused children our own.
At the end of swim practice, my daughter hopped in the car brimming with a story of a large bird she saw struggling in the wind–maybe a hawk, maybe a vulture. Have you noticed birds fighting against the elements occasionally to go where they want to go? In the wind, normally regal creatures can look very awkward, rocking clumsily from side to side. However, when they submit to the wind, how beautiful is it to watch an eagle soaring majestically, wings borne aloft by the air currents?
If I try to fight against the Holy Wind, I can be like that struggling bird. It must struggle, or a gale could throw it into danger. My Wind isn’t random, though. I don’t need to fear where His breath will take me, for “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles” (Isa. 40:31).
Like the wind, the Holy Spirit can’t be directly seen–He is best noticed by His effects in our lives. Also like the wind, He is not always predictable, although He does follow some patterns–patterns formed from His righteousness and goodness. With Him, it is best to let go of our illusion of control, spread our arms wide in His presence and let Him blow.
I get to give away one copy of the NIV Adventure Bible: Polar Exploration Edition (see my review here), and you will receive it by Christmas if you want to give this as a Christmas present! If you would like to enter, subscribe to my blog:
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Giveaways are open to residents of the continental U.S. and Canada who haven’t won a prize from me within a year only.
I will announce the winner by Saturday, November 10, so look for it! If I don’t hear from the winner within a week, I will draw another name. Thank you!