Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Season without Wind

Lately I've been reminded of a common Christian simile: God is like the wind; you can't see Him but you can feel Him. I will start by saying this analogy works on many levels, and I often am reminded of God's presence through creation. I cannot help but think of the Spirit when I feel a gentle breeze kiss my face, the kind that makes you close your eyes and breathe deeply. I will be upfront, however, and say that there are days where there is no wind.

Knowing where I live and where I attended college, I know that previous statement is difficult to believe, but I have a storehouse of lifeguarding memories to affirm it. There are days when the sun beats down mercilessly causing the temperature to rise to unmatched levels while the notorious Iowa humidity dares you to breathe. On these days, the pool was especially busy, for obvious reasons, but the laughter of children quickly assumed a mocking tone when their splashing came just short of bringing brief relief to the skin on my legs, the skin that revealed its anger with me through its deep red hue. As much as I wanted to get off my chair and take shelter in the shade/water/anywhere but my chair, I had to stay. Sweat unceasingly poured down my face, into my eyes, off my chair, but there was no wind to cool me down. I sometimes looked at the horizon as if my pleading eyes could see the wind coming (for any moms out there, I promise I still paid attention to the kids), but guess what? I couldn't see it. I couldn't see relief coming to my aid.

And so it is with faith. There are days when His gentle breeze makes me stop and breathe deeply. There are days when His forceful, convicting gusts remind me of His presence so much that I wish He would stop. And there are days when I can't feel anything. Days when I look to the horizon and hope and pray Ican see Him coming to the rescue, but I can't see anything changing. And it is during these days that I just wish I could feel the presence of God.

I rest in the fact that I am not alone in this experience.

Psalm 22:1-5
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
Henri Nouwen, one of my favorite theologians, explores this subject far better than me, so I'll sum things up with this quote from Reaching Out:
"The intimacy with God in our earthly existence will always remain an intimacy that transcends human intimacy and is experienced in a faithful waiting on him who came but is still to come."
While the sun is still beating down, I will cling to faithfully waiting on him who came but is still to come.

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