Banging doors and barking dogs

th-3I woke up to a storm raging against my windows and doors. First there was the wind; then there was the rain. The wind blew open one of our doors that doesn’t latch properly, and slammed it shut when it switched direction, and, of course, our dogs had to bark every time it blew open or closed thinking someone was coming in or leaving the house.

First there is the wind, and the wind is unpredictable, just like the Spirit. “The wind blows wherever it pleases” (John 3:8). It’s reckless. “You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.” It’s a swirl of truth and consequences catching us unawares. Banging our doors. Waking us up. Filling the middle of the night with barking dogs. “So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” Have you ever understood this? Me neither.

We tend to want to get the Spirit under control. If I were  in charge, I would do it differently. I would have things arranged a certain way, and then ask the Spirit to bless my arrangement. Good luck. Hope it goes well with that.

If you want to follow the Spirit, you have to be ready for adventure. It happens this way so that we cannot claim that it was because of our cleverness or our strength that we got the victory. The Lord claims all the victory speeches. He’s not selfish or egotistical in this; He is just God. He gets to do what He wants. And though His way might not be what we would choose, it’s better, because He has our best interests at heart. If we got what we wanted and it wasn’t the same as what God wanted, it would not be good. Not ever. When it comes to God, you don’t ever want to get what you want. You and I are much too short-sighted to be choosing the way.

Besides, we are not alone. All our paths are fitting together. God has joined them. He is weaving them all together into a tapestry of praise. So my choice of what is best for me might mess up what is best for you, and a dozen other people, for that matter. You can’t pull a thread out of a tapestry without ruining the whole thing. I don’t know how we are all intertwined; I just know it is intricately maintained by the Spirit. And the Spirit blows where He wills.

But after the wind comes the rain, and the rain is good, sweet, steady and life-giving. Mixed with the sun — the light of Christ — it makes for growth. And so we grow strong and sure, driven by the wind and the rain, woven together into God’s plan for the ages in spite of banging doors and barking dogs.

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7 Responses to Banging doors and barking dogs

  1. Robert Smith says:

    We woke up to the same storm and sounds: gate doors rattling, trash cans rolling, dogs barking, tree branches creaking, etc. – a couple thousand miles away here in the Seattle area, however.
    I find it remarkable and awesome how the same storm at the same time can strike a 5,000-mile coastal region with pretty much the same ‘structural’ results and, yet, perspectives can vary just as widely as the distance between Mexico and Alaska.
    Some people curse the weather while others marvel at it and, still others, just ride it out.
    There was flooding, power outages, some loss of life and property, many inconveniences…
    but on the flip side: California got much needed moisture; Washington got much-needed snow in the mountains; the air was cleaned up; and, we couldn’t have stopped the storm from coming even if we wanted to.
    Yes, there is usually always a mess and lots clean up afterwards but the fact that most of us made it through the storm together should be a source of joy, bonding, and gratefulness in the end.

  2. Andrew P. says:

    You reminded me of how profoundly Modern (in the technical sense) the thinking of most of us has been for the last few hundred years. Postmodern (and Premodern) thinkers have no problem with the uncontrollable Spirit, but we Moderns, infected as we are with Enlightenment thinking, have a lot of trouble with the concept. We needed to formalize, “scientific-ize” everything. Why? Basically, so we can fully understand, and therefore control (in some sense, though certainly not in all senses). Having enough real faith (trust, that is) to let God be God, and not assume that we’ve figured out all the ways He works, is a Modern challenge. You and I are both still learning this, John.

  3. Michael says:

    There are two sides to life’s tapestry. The underside with all the knots and dangleing threads which is my side, and the finished side which I will see one day when He has completed me.

  4. Peter Leenheer says:

    Jesus slept through the storm, but the disciples in the boat were terrified. Amid the turmoil of life I desire to have Jesus’ rest. When in a restful state it is often easier to see if the storm is meant to test my faith, be a wake-up call, or just wonder at his power and majesty. Sometimes it is all three!
    I wonder if being a little terrified in a storm would go a long way in fostering some respect for God. The respect he deserves.

  5. Martha Nelson says:

    Oh so true! Thank you for speaking your heart!

    Sent from my iPhone


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