There seem to be two ways to walk in the wind. With or Against. Most days it’s both – against in one direction and with when you make your turn and head home. Against requires full on strength, as you press forward, pushing yourself into a force that whips at you, threatening to steal the hat off your head. The gale is relentless and uncalculating. It doesn’t measure your strength or resolve. It just keeps blowing, – roaring like a freight train in your ears. It captivates your whole attention, and every step is a victory.
Then there is with. On my jaunts along the waterfront, there is always a turning point (which is essential, if I want to get home). The moment I turn, a sudden hush envelopes me and the force that fought against me is the strength that pushes me forward. I have to practically skip to keep up with it.The journey is suddenly so easy, so assured and simply being there seems to be the sole requirement for God to do what He is going to do. With is where the walk turns to blessing.
With – a simple word preposing an ultimate concept. A word of companionship, a word of participation and solidarity. A connective tissue that holds together, and goes along together. So it is with me and the wind, on those blustery days, when I finally make the turn. But so it is with God, too. From the ancient days, God said, do not be afraid, for I will be with you. (Deuteronomy 31:8). When the prophet Isaiah spoke of the coming of God’s anointed one to save the people, he called him Emmanuel or “God with us”(Isaiah 7:14). And at the end of his days on earth, The Risen Lord said, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
As I look back over the years, I believed that life was generally turbulent and required just about everything I
had to walk into it. It felt a lot like against. Now, I am not so sure. True, some days the path leads straight into the wind – driving headlong into a force that is unyielding and requires our full concentration. But these days are not necessarily contrary to the Spirit.
Jesus once likened the wind to the Spirit. Perhaps we do need days of the Spirit blowing hard against us, whisking away the ancillaries, until we’ve let go of all that impedes his way in us. But in the process we also discover there is something invigorating about giving everything you’ve got along the way. We savor the brisk, blood-pumping activity that fills our lungs and we know undeniably that we are alive and well. We are not apart from it. We are still with it.
The apostle Paul puts it this way, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
I have just published my first book. (I like to say first because it implies more to online casino come!) As I struggled through the Psalms to find God in the midst of loneliness, I learned the concept “with.” I realize God has always been with me, whether I felt it or not. I didn’t always see it. Like the wind, it was hard to know where God was coming from, or going. But I am convinced He is the a driving strength from behind, even within – the connective tissue holding us together – companionship and solidarity. As we begin to look for it, wait for it, walk into it, we realize we are skipping to keep up.
I pray God will make his presence with you undeniably known today!
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
When I awake, I am still with you.
My new book, Hand in Hand, Walking with the Psalms through Loneliness, is now available for sale through my website: elizabethheadblack.com. I hope you will join my in this journey.