One night, when I was wakened in the middle of the night by the rushing sound of branches being tossed in the wind, I found within myself a stirring of different thoughts and emotions that paralleled the sounds of the troubled night outside.
So as I began to pray, my prayers centered at first on thankfulness for the goodness of God and His faithfulness especially; and then I moved on to a plea to Him for His help in keeping me alert always for His activity so that I can be ready to obey Him promptly.
The sounds of that night prompted me into drawing a comparison between the wind that I heard and the movement of the Spirit of God in the life of His child. For instance, I had heard from friends before I went to sleep that night, that the wind could pick up in the early morning hours, but I did not know the minute or even the hour when it might come. It made me think of sailors of the “tall ships” whose lives and livelihoods depended on such winds to move them from port to port and from harbors of rest to nets full of fish.
Such a dependence on the wind is like the dependence that we have upon God’s daily filling, promptings, and empowering. The need for a sailor’s ongoing readiness to catch the wind in the unpredictable days of yore is not dissimilar to our own need for perpetual vigilance to seize the opportunities that the Lord’s divine appointments present us.
In Matthew 25:1-13, the Lord Jesus speaks of the kingdom of heaven, comparing it to 10 virgins waiting for the bridegroom. The fact of multiple virgins was not, by the way, an endorsement of multiple spouses but a picture of the many Christians in the world that the Spirit of God has called out to attend to the bride of Christ, the Church, assisting, as it were, her preparations for her groom’s arrival (see Revelation 19:6-8). It so happens that in this parable, five of the virgins were in an ongoing state of waiting and readiness, whereas five were not. The five who were ready responded quickly when the groom came and entered along with Him and His bride into the perpetual fellowship of joy. The five who were not ready tried too late to get ready, but the door of opportunity was lost to them and they never experienced the bliss that could have been theirs.
While this story is in part an admonition for us to be ready for Christ’s return, it is also a warning to be ready for such encounters with Him as He has in store for us in this life also.
There are many today in whose lives the Lord is actively at work as He calls them to experience His love and power. There are many in whom He would do a miraculous work of hope and spiritual healing. But their sails (of faithful expectancy and trusting obedience) are down and the wind of His grace blows over them in vain.
Much of the despondency of those who are Believers is due, no doubt, to stubbornness on our part to believe that God works in such ways today. But why should we expect Him not to work in those ways? At what point does the Scripture indicate that He has ceased being involved in the affairs of His creation, especially those who are called by His name?
And it could be that some of the reason that we miss out on God working in and through our lives today is that we believe that God either cannot use us or that we are too weak, small, unimportant, or messed up for Him to bless. Those who feel this way are evidently unfamiliar with the Bible’s instruction regarding our unique potential in the eyes of God.
“God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29 ESV).
But the main reason we miss out, I fear, is that we, in spite of our good intentions, get tired of waiting, get bored with delays, and get distracted by the busy things of life. We are too busy to adjust to the divine appointments that He lays at our feet and we give Him hardly more than a, “Just a second, God. Let me finish this first.” Or, “Oh! Was that You, Lord? Sorry! I was too busy to notice that open door!”
Well, whatever the reason, the result is the same: we fail to unfurl our sails and we are consequently not ready when the wind of God’s power and love comes. How often have we missed miraculous empowerings of God, monumental provisions from His hand, and merciful protections from harm and discouragement as He shields us from the consequences of our own limited perspective?
But don’t give up on waiting on Him, even if you’ve messed up before. Don’t fall asleep at the helm unaware that at any moment the breath of God might begin blowing through your life, carrying you on to great things only He could keep in store for you.
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (Jesus in John 3:8 ESV).
Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open to the working of God and allow Him to make you a vessel fit for the waters He has charted for your life. With the seas of the world raging all about us, you need the help of the only One Who knows how to keep you on course for the safe harbor of His will.
Pastor Thom Mollohan leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at [email protected]