Revival and Reformation

Trusting the wind

John S. Redkoles is a United Methodist pastor, author, wildlife photographer, retired state trooper, and beekeeper residing in Pilesgrove, New Jersey, United States.

Any successful white-tailed-deer hunter (by camera or weapon) will proclaim an undeniable truth, “You’ve got to know and trust the wind.” Over the years, I have learned this lesson all too many times, especially by failing to give my utmost attention to the faintest gust of wind and the direction in which it was blowing.

Since the white-tailed deer is one of the wariest creatures on the planet, only a tiny sniff of the human scent and their upturned pure-white tail will quickly reveal the reason for their name. The deer quickly retreating into the woods never saw me, but it trusted what the wind brought to its attention: my scent. However, the day I captured this trophy buck proudly scanning the autumn landscape, the animal could not see or smell me. Why? Because I put full trust in the wind’s direction and selected a location to prevent an approaching whitetail from detecting my scent.

Recently, as I quietly sat along a narrow stream winding its way through the forest, the slightest trickle of the moving water broke the silence of the otherwise quiet afternoon. It was the sweetest of sounds, and my pursuit of peace for that day seemed fulfilled until I felt a gentle wind touch my face. At that moment, an amazing stillness came over me, and I truly recognized God’s presence. I immediately began pondering the many ways the Bible describes the Spirit of God as wind.

The Spirit of God

I think of the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit is described as a violent and rushing wind. In contrast, I thought of John 20:22, when Jesus appeared to His disciples and breathed the Holy Spirit upon them. The imagery in both of these examples is striking: one is fierce and loud, and the other is the gentle breath of Christ. We all experience and recognize the presence of God in various ways. For me, on that day, it was a simple gust of wind greeting my cheek.

Like the wind, the Spirit of God is invisible and beyond our ability to see. But the presence of wind can be noted all around us. From swaying treetops to sailboats dashing across the water, the results of wind are real. In the same way, Scripture assures us that God’s Spirit fills and fuels our lives. Whether it’s a forceful gale as on the Day of Pentecost or the quiet breath of Christ, it’s still the very presence of God in our lives. I believe it’s important to be open and willing to allow the Spirit of God to lead us. For many, this is a scary proposition, and I get it! But the more we trust the spiritual winds of God’s guidance, the easier it becomes to rely on where these winds may lead. The payoff for trusting the wind in the pursuit of whitetails can be huge; however, trusting the spiritual winds of God can be life-changing.

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John S. Redkoles is a United Methodist pastor, author, wildlife photographer, retired state trooper, and beekeeper residing in Pilesgrove, New Jersey, United States.

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