Nothing in nature was more suitable than the wind as a symbol of the Spirit. “To anyone brought up in the Jewish tradition,” J. S. Stewart explains, “it was natural, almost inevitable, to compare the Spirit of God with the wind. For in the Hebrew tongue the same term was used for both.”
It was to a learned theologian that our Lord spoke of this simple, everyday occurrence—the blowing of the breeze. “Listen to the wind,” He said. “Hear it rustling the leaves of the old olive tree. See the clouds scudding across the face of the moon tonight, driven by the wind.” And then the parallel with spiritual realities: “Nicodemus, can you tell where it comes from, or where it goes? The Spirit is like that.”
He is indeed like that. Unexplainable in human language, but known by what He does. He breathes into men the breath of spiritual life, regenerating, reviving, resurrecting the dead, doing what only He can do.
Harriet Auber sang, “All-powerful as the wind He came,/As viewless too.” Viewless, but powerful! “Of all the forces of nature, wind is the greater Invisible,” wrote David Read. “The painter or photographer can reproduce the sun and moon, the waves of the sea, the snow and the rain; but how do you catch the rushing mighty wind? Only by its effects.”
Like a tropical hurricane, the Holy Spirit uproots deep-seated prejudices, overturns rigid bastions of self-righteous dogmatism, and sweeps the slum-like streets of our self-centered lives, ridding them of the debris which accumulate everywhere until He comes with His cleansing.
Where you see changed lives and transformed homes, you know the Spirit has been moving—invisibly, yes—but what He does provides evidence enough of His presence.
I remember the first time I saw a windmill. There it stood on a farm near our own, whirling steadily in the Nova Scotia wind. When I asked what it was for, someone explained that it harnessed the power of the wind to draw water for the cattle. This country lad was impressed! Now, it would be irreverent to speak of “harnessing” the Spirit, but it is true that to benefit from His ministry a believer must put himself in the path of His power.
The Wind is still blowing! God’s Spirit is ceaselessly active, unseen but mighty, moving over the earth. Not for me to try to force Him to do my bidding but to put myself in the path of His power. Mighty Wind of heaven, move on me today!
Edward Read, Burning, Always Burning