The wind roars, simply roars, through the leaves of the tall London plane tree outside my window. It is frightening enough that the dogs are afraid to stay outside for much longer than it takes to devour their food and lap their tongues in the water dish a time or two before ducking back into their house.
I sit in my easy chair and listen to it blow. And, just as the Teacher promised, I couldn’t tell you where it blew in from, nor where it will end up. (John 3:8)
I don’t know.
Funny. I’ve been saying that a lot recently. I said it to the nice lady from the local newspaper today.
She wanted to know what’s next.
I don’t know.
The leaves, blown around by the wind, scratch against the back door and I laugh.
She wanted to know where I came from. I wondered if she thought it would help to figure out where I’m to go from here.
I recited the familiar words to her earlier today and suddenly realized it’s the first time I’ve told the story and all of it—every sentence and every word—was in the past tense.
The words I said seemed strangely altered from the dozens of times I have recited them in recent weeks. Then, I was still a part of the story. Now, my part in that story is history.
So, what about the wind? Would it help to know where it came from?
Would it be comforting to know where it is going?
Perhaps. But, I’m thinking the more important thing is to dwell in the place to which He has brought us, as we’re being prepared for the place He is moving us to.
Dwell. It’s an interesting word. We usually think of it as a sense of staying somewhere permanently.
Well, sure we do. The Psalmist averred that he would dwell in the house of the Lord. Forever. (Psalm 23:6)
See there? Dwell forever.
But, my eyes are drawn to the words preceding that in the poetry of the Psalmist. You know, the part where he says that goodness and unfailing love would pursue him all his life.
One has to be moving if they are to be pursued.
I remember—years ago when I was young and loved old cars—I remember setting the ignition points on the old jalopies. Now, computers do such things for us, but then, we had to make the adjustments to keep the mechanical beasts functioning at the top of their potential. As I remember it, we used to set something in the ignition cycle that was called the dwell.
It was a momentary resting of one part on another. The time between movement—a rest with seemingly nothing happening—was in reality the instant that propelled the vehicle from one place to another. During the dwell, the spark was transferred from one contact to the other, where it could start the combustion that is necessary for the motor to have power.
The dwell was absolutely essential. Of course, so was the activity in between these resting places.
The power to go forward depends on both. Resting and acting.
Dwelling. And, moving on.
I’ve heard people describe the wind in the treetops in various ways—singing, whispering, laughing. I have no such gentle words with which to describe it. I guess I’d characterize the wind tonight as the lead singer in a heavy metal rock band.
You know, yelling and screaming at the top of its voice.
It’s what I feel like—a little—recently.
And yet, I’m learning to dwell in the quiet places. And, letting go in the windy ones.
I can’t tell you where the gusting wind came from, nor can I tell you where it will stop.
But, it’s okay.
Finally, it’s okay.
The Teacher—you know, the One who promised we would wonder—He knows where the wind comes from and where it is going.
And, He knows what’s next—as well as how I’m going to get there.
Listen to the wind blow!
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
(Psalm 23:6 ~ NLT)
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.
(Christina Rossetti ~ English poet ~ 1830-1894)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2017. All Rights Reserved.