It’s Only the Wind

It’s Only the Wind

I can’t tell you how many times our missional faith community has found itself battered and beaten by conflicts started by little whispers, by financial woes (that are sometimes fueled by those conflicts and whispers), and by a myriad of accusations and difficulties.  Many things have come against us with the message, “Turn back. It can’t be done. You’re going to die.”  The important thing to realize is not WHAT comes at us, but WHEN it comes at us.  It almost always happens just before the Lord of Lord’s is about to use us to do something huge and amazing among the lost.

I am not afraid of the term “lost”.  There are people all around us who are in hell right here on earth and are headed for one later, as well.  There are people held captive to drugs, gambling addictions, greed, power, enviousness, and any number of afflictions that keep them bound and unable to really live the blessed life that God has prepared for them.  If someone is gambling away their family’s paycheck, or sticking a heroin-filled needle in their arm, or engaging in affair after meaningless affair, I am sorry, but they are lost.  Each time we set out to reach into these populations with the Kingdom of God, someone comes into the community (or re-emerges from non-participation to all of the sudden participating hugely) and tries to create distractions and to disrupt our unity.  Unity is frightening to Satan, because when the Body of Christ comes together to do what it was created and empowered to do, the Gates of Hades cannot withstand it.  Each time that we have been beset by internal strife among believers who have not seen this kind of thing before, it has been just after we have been moved by the sight of some miracle or wonder or experience of God and are in the midst of preparing to go out to reach the lost in some new way in response to what we have seen.

I have come not only to know what it is when I see it, but have come to fully expect it.  And I now see resistance and difficulty as an honor because the presence of such supernatural attack means that we are on track with what we are being called to do.  It is just the wind rising up against us because it knows that Jesus is about to steal a soul or two or three out of Hell.  Satan knows that he can scare us, but he cannot stop us.  We can only scare ourselves into quitting.  I think of a story from the Gospel of Mark:

Mark 4:35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Prior to this passage, Jesus had been teaching the disciples how to participate in the Kingdom and to reach out in mission.  They had seen miracles and wonders and were then trained by Jesus to do what he was calling them to do.  The passage that immediately follows this passage relates Jesus’ rescue of a man in the region of the Gerasenes who was possessed by a legion of demons.  In other words, the disciples having been called, gifted, and sent were going to storm Hell’s Gates and steal away someone who was suffering and bound in spiritual slavery.  As the disciples set out, a great wind rose against them.

My response now when the wind, like that faced by the disciples in Mark Gospel, rises up is “Duh”.  As a young Christ-follower, though, when all that conflict and meanness and false-accusations started to rise up, I was scared to death.  It distracted me away from what I was being called to do, and set my eyes on all these problems.  I saw mission stopped because it was resisted, rather than going forward because it was resisted.  I even stopped it to deal with the distractions.  As a new pastor, sometimes that wind was directed straight at me in an attempt to separate me from my missional community.  I thought for sure the whole community “boat” was going to come apart.  Now I know to expect the wind.  Now the pillars of our community know to expect it, too.  I pray often for a few more pillars of faith in our community, but what we have has been enough. We all now know that Jesus is in the boat with us, and that the wind only tells us that we are on the right course.  Make no mistake, the wind does damage.  We lose people to it.  But in every case, when the time was right, Jesus rebuked the wind and it went still.  Now the pillars of this community just lean in a little more, and hold on a little tighter.

Satan has thrown everything at us but the kitchen sink.  Financial hardships, little lies, big lies, broken people, divisive wedge issues, sicknesses among leaders, and resistance of every kind has blown and howled at us as it tries to get our eyes off of the far shore where the work of Christ is to be done.  Remember that the author of that wind is the author of all lies.  He is the “most subtle of all the creatures in the garden”.  When Satan is creating the wind, it will look like it is something important (hence the subtlety), but it is just wind. It is now a badge of honor to be spiritually attacked and set upon by windstorms because it means that we have moved from being a community that was absorbed with itself and thus a threat to nothing but ourselves, to being a part of the Body of Christ storming the Gates of Hades with the Holy Spirit in our boat, and empowered by all authority in heaven and on earth to do what we are called to do.

Expect the wind. Stay the course.  Something amazing is about to happen.

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