What is the Wind in Your Sail?

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5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.  6 Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit is born of the Spirit.  7 Do not be amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’  8 The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)

This passage embodies a great deal about the belief of ancient man and the wind. And this is close to the 1st century AD. Jesus uses their understanding of the spirit of a man and compares it to the Holy Spirit.

At it’s very essence, wind is…weird. It has no “beginning”. In the the scientific community, they are often looking for “the cause”. The medical community is doing the same or looking for “patient zero”. From a laymen’s perspective, wind doesn’t have a starting point. It is just…there. Or…is it?

The word for wind in Greek is Pneuma and in Hebrew it is Ruach. Wind or spirit in both greek and hebrew. They are relatively simple in their definition, but bear a stronger meaning applied in their context. Wind is also personified to represent God (or gods). It is a unseen force.

With it’s connection to breath (signified by air moving out of a person) it began to signify the “life force” or “spirit” of a person. (Holman Bible Dictionary, article on wind, Trent C. Butler, editor, copyright 1991)

Winds are connected to high and low pressure systems. There is a connection between Saharan dust and hurricanes. The Saharan dust limits the formation of hurricanes in the gulf of Mexico because of how they interfere with the formation of the hurricanes. In my own personal theory, this limits the energy from escaping the waters of the Gulf. Therefore, once the Saharan Dust stops, the hurricanes afterwards become more erratic and violent. There are so many intricate details to weather. Wind can docile and calm or extremely violent.

How does this compare to life?  In many ways.  Wind can cool you down, or it can knock you off of your feet, or…even kill you.  So, do we walk around scared of the slightest breeze?  Do we act like the wind is nothing to be concerned about?  I think we need to have a healthy respect for it. I think we also need to have a healthy respect and love for others who deal with fears around weather. Somebody who may suffer a level of PTSD from a storm, hurricane, or tornado may get rather scared when the wind picks up. We need to be caring and understanding with them. The psychological impact of these events is very real.

The early sailors relied on the wind to move their ships. They would learn at times to read the wind and how it acted. Who or what is “the wind” in our sails? Is it a girl or woman? The “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack had a song “She’s like the wind”. Is it a man? Is it God? Is it an inspiring idea or passion? That is something each of us will have to decide, and then see how it compares to our values. That is the point where great prayer will be required, because…we may have to change something.  

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