“The wind blows wherever it pleases.
You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Driving through the California desert, the heat index rose with each mile away from LA. The landscape was stark and simple: brown and grey hills against a background of brilliant blue sky.
The sun was painfully blinding. I flipped down the shade and tried to hide behind it as I read my magazine.
“You’ve got to see this,” my husband nudged me.
Hesitantly, I peered out the window.
It was a strangely beautiful sight.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of sculpture-like stiletto structures lined the mountains and valleys, white sentinels in neat formation.
They resembled tall crosses at first glance, like the ones that stand in countless rows at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Westwood.
But then, I noticed movement. They were whirling like pinwheels in the hot desert wind.
“What in the world are they?” I asked my husband.
He explained what wind turbines are.
They are harnessing the power of the wind.
Although the “outside temperature” reading was 104, I felt a slight chill creep up my arm.
There is great power in the universe.
Whether you believe in the Big Bang theory, concede to creationism, or accept elements of both, it is evident that the world began with a burst of power.
The world remains charged with latent energy.
I ruminated on this idea as we continued through the dry, hot desert.
Later, I wondered about how those turbines actually turn wind into electricity.
Julie Brown writes, “…air is a fluid like any other except that its particles are in gas form instead of liquid. And when air moves quickly, in the form of wind, those particles are moving quickly. Motion means kinetic energy, which can be captured, just like the energy in moving water can be captured by the turbine in a hydroelectric dam. In the case of a wind-electric turbine, the turbine blades are designed to capture the kinetic energy in wind. The rest is nearly identical to a hydroelectric setup: When the turbine blades capture wind energy and start moving, they spin a shaft that leads from the hub of the rotor to a generator. The generator turns that rotational energy into electricity. At its essence, generating electricity from the wind is all about transferring energy from one medium to another.”
The spiritual symbolism of the image of accessing power from the wind is striking. In the Bible, wind represents the Holy Spirit.
This passage came immediately to mind:
“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they (Jesus’ disciples) were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit...” (Acts 2:1-4)
A move of the Spirit.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” (Acts 1:8)
One is indwelt by God’s spirit at the point of surrender.
We like to think that we’re in control. We’re capable of handling whatever comes our way. We’re masters of our own destiny. We’ve got it all together.
But most of us will feel powerless at some point in our lives. If you haven’t yet, I predict that you will one day.
We finally come to the realization that no matter how “able” we are, there are some things we cannot control.
(The word “power” comes from the Latin “to be able.”)
The best of my ability is not always good enough.
I am stupid and stubborn and no stranger to deserts. I’ve found myself walking circles in them more times than I care to remember, lost by my own initiative to be in charge.
I’ve taken a couple of vacations to desert lands quite recently, in fact.
A spiritual desert is a fearsome thing. Independence and self-will can land you in a lonely place.
But there, in my powerlessness, in my weakness, in my failure, I choose to surrender.
To give up. To lay down my arms. To stop fighting in my own strength.
A sense of powerlessness grants me the humility to finally ask for help. To swallow my pride.
To surrender my sovereignty to a 'Higher Power.'
To give up my need to control, to fix, to manipulate.
And, finally, to access a latent power that's been there all along... just waiting to be tapped. Wanting to be tapped.
There is a life-giving energy flowing through the universe. Flowing into me.
Rather than trying to harness the wind for my own purposes, I can choose to harness myself… to yoke myself… to that source of true Power that already resides within.
The only Power in the universe that is powerful enough.
“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead…” (Ephesians 1:18-20)
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)