Come, O North Wind

Bright lakeOn Saturday, Winthrop Harbor was gusty with the tumult of Winter fighting to be Spring.

The snow departed almost overnight with a warm wind on its heels, and only a few bold chunks of dirt-laden ice still hunch in corners. The rest of it has soaked through the ground and become mud, and the little streams at the park and in the gulleys trickle freely, released from their frozen cover. The grey trees, no longer wearing snowy coats and icy diamonds, are stretching bare arms to the sky, begging for the sun, only to be buffeted constantly by the wind.

The gales were swift and intense that day, producing a whooshing rush that resembled a wave crashing. Every few seconds, it pulled back, receding only to pick up speed and cascade back again. It was a persistent force, knocking over garbage cans, hurrying loose leaves over roadways, even fighting to yank cars from their lanes. Across the street, our neighbor’s shingled roof looked like the edge of a sheet about to be unfurled. The wind here taps at our windows and dances with our screen door, opening and shutting our mail box and then leaping over the house to writhe in the treetops. It presses on our walls, as if demanding entrance. But my favorite are those brief moments when you can almost see the wind—when it rolls up and dives along the ground, throwing shadows against sidewalks, pausing as if it can see its reflection in the puddles.

There’s a specific verse in an obscure section of the Bible that always comes to my mind when I think of wind. It begins, “Awake, O North Wind and come…blow upon my garden…” Song of Solomon 4:16

Though Song of Solomon is a highly figurative and symbolic book, I always think of this verse in terms of how the wind cannot be seen and yet it changes things. In symbolic literature, the North Wind represents a cold, gusty, somewhat harsh presence that blows over gardens, releasing power, and unlocking new seasons with its very force.

My big question these days, as the natural seasons struggle around me, is what is God’s purpose for me this next season? What useful qualities does He want to release from my garden with the North Wind of change?

“For land that has drunk the rain that often falls upon it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.” Hebrews 6:7

Too often, I feel like my heart is like land that just lies there, getting wet with the blessing of God but not drinking, not useful, not producing a crop. Obviously, the Lord wants more for me than a simple mental assent to His Word brings. Everything begins with a simple acceptance of the Gospel, but it doesn’t end there. Wherever I see a lack of maturity in my life, a lack of focus or purpose, it is because I am receiving without practicing and seeking. Am I modeling my life after Jesus? Am I taking my cues from how He acted…resisting temptation, submitting to God, learning obedience through suffering?

Am I clinging to the Word of God for dear life? The book of Hebrews says the Word of God is a double-edged sword, and it pierces to the division of soul and spirit, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Sometimes that is painful. But I shrink back from it to my detriment.

I am praying for the Lord to open my heart wider to the searching, cleansing work of the Holy Spirit, never shrinking back from anything that would make me more like Jesus. Wherever you are lost or empty, confused or lacking in focus or purpose, I invite you to join me in this prayer and actively seek Him. Let His Word offend you, challenge you, pierce you. Let Him deepen your walk. Let’s not be hearers only, deceiving ourselves, but doers.

Let us hold fast our confidence to the end, so we may present ourselves useful, fully assured, and mature.

A few days ago, God reminded me that He doesn’t build a foundation and then neglect to finish the building that goes on top. Hebrews 3:4-6 says: “Every house is built by someone, but the Builder of all things is God…Jesus Christ is faithful to God’s House as a Son. And we are His House if indeed we hold fast our confidence, boasting in our Hope, firm to the end.”

My house is not falling to pieces in the wind. My house is built on the Rock. Praying for firmness, steadiness. Holding out for the Spring.

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