Saturday, March 31, 2012

Going Where God's Wind Blows

We all live with something. We all face issues, struggles, challenges. We all live with conditions, chronic illnesses, or diseases that can be manageable one day and bite us the next. Nobody's life is picture-perfect, no matter what the smiles we plaster on our faces and show the outside world try to convey. We all have fears and things that strike terror in our hearts. We all live with our own "what ifs" whether we take steps to prevent them or prepare for them if they should occur, or not.

And we all have our own sources of hope and joy. We all have people, or at least one person, we can count on to bring a smile to our face. Just the mention of a name, the fond memory, the song, the smell, and we are transported to a wonderful place even if that place is only in our mind's eye or in the past.

We all have life's seasons where if it can go wrong and fall apart, it will and does. We can't stop it or control it. We have to pray it through and get through it as best we can. We have these seasons whether we are people of faith or not.

We, likewise, all have seasons where life is a big double rainbow and everywhere we turn we find "good" tailing us. Blessings seem to fall from the sky and we're wearing a target on our backs that says, "Bless me" and we are blessed. It can seem that easy! We have these seasons whether we are people of faith or not.

Don't ask me "why." We just do.

In the good times and in the bad, it's so much easier if we can find people who share similar journeys. Just to connect with others who can share their life and say, "This is where I am and this is what's happening" can give us strength to know we aren't alone and others face the same challenges and are getting through them. If they can do it, then I can do it! In this Age of Internet and Facebook, I don't have to really know them; it just helps to know they are conquering, or, at least muddling through it. That's powerful in and of itself. That conveys so much hope in a world that often doesn't show much hope.

And God comes along and blows us in directions that move us into paths of people we would never have met, doing things we never would have done, and effecting change we never would have been part of if God had not stepped in and blown into our lives.

It was a challenge for me, at first, to set my sail and drift where God blew into my life. There were times early on when I didn't particularly care for where I saw Him heading. God wanted to blow my little boat in one direction and I said, "I don't think so." And God blew anyway and I learned pretty quickly that God doesn't care too much for mutiny and I don't care too much for "the brig." So I had to decide that in order to stay out of the brig, I had to be a helpful first mate on my boat and sailing was smoother. Even through storms. Ordinarily there might be a "Rats" coming. Not this time.

I've learned my life really does go better when I get out of God's way and watch Him work. I've learned that while I have no control over much of my life, I have no control over what other people do that can affect me and I have no control over the weather of life. I have learned to trust the One Who can do something about the things and situations I'm helpless in. As I tend to put it, you know that bumper sticker that says "God's my co-pilot?" I don't like that. As long as we're in the cockpit with God it's still too easy to reach over and take the controls away from Him. Nope. I do not want God as my co-pilot! He doesn't want that either! No, I'm in the passenger section, usually coach, and the door to the cockpit is locked to keep me out.

It has taken me a long time to get to this point and I know me well enough to know I may not be a happy camper in the passenger section of my plane forever and one day I may find myself banging on the cockpit door begging for those controls. Heaven help me if God opens the door!

But along the way I've learned to trust His leading and promptings. I wish I could say that I follow each and every one of them, but I don't. There are many subtle ones that I miss, there are some I ignore, and there are some that seem to come two-by-two and I can't do both at the same time so I pick one and go with it.

As I travel with God's wind, I go places to meet people I wouldn't have met otherwise. And I find God has beaten me to my destination and welcomes me just as surely as my new friend welcomes me. I do things I never would have done and find God is already at work, on the job, and I just have to pitch in and help.

And I find God delights in surprises. And I learn that while they are surprises to me, they are not to Him and He has His reasons for blowing them my way. I confess that I'm not always thrilled with His surprises, but I've never been one that loved surprises anyway. But they are also opportunities for God to show me some grace and help me stretch and grow.

Sometimes that "stretching" is painful and almost like being on a spiritual stretcher like was used in history as an instrument of torture. Life isn't easy. Being part of the lives of other people isn't easy. Holding hearts and walking with people through thin places and sad seasons and storms and darkness filled with shadows isn't easy. Hearing of trials and tribulations isn't easy. But when God blows us into these place we can rest knowing that He's our shelter, guide, and light. It's not up to me. It's not up to me to be God's travel agent and tell Him where to blow.

It's my job, our job as people of faith, to be God's little mustard seed and let Him blow our little bit of faith into a world already inhabited by His breath, Spirit, and wind.

His ruah.

No matter where God blows into our lives and directs our journeys, He's already there and will never leave.

He is always blowing us into Himself.

He cannot blow us away from Himself.

And I am grateful.