Friday in Sydney was wild and windy. Walking to my friend’s house for morning tea seemed a sensible idea – good for the environment and my thighs. As I strode along the footpath, the wind rushed by, carrying leaves, twigs and dust in its icy fingers. The gusts were unpredictable – howling against my right cheek, and then circling menacingly and lifting the back of my coat with another chilly gust. At one stage the wind groaned eerily and I expected to see tumbleweed rolling down the street and John Wayne jogging by on his horse.
As I pulled my jacket close and squinted against the antics of the wind, I pondered its intensity. I couldn’t ignore the wind, even though I couldn’t actually see it. It was demanding my attention. So often it is only what I see with my eyes in this material world that gets my attention.
I have a regular discussion with certain friends about the wisdom or stupidity of believing in the spiritual world – in things that cannot be seen with our eyes. The views of the atheist often sound clever and logical, whilst faith in the unseen seems naive and childish. It could be said that the Bible encourages this naive and childish belief:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1:
If life were always sensible and logical then I guess I’d agree with my atheist friends. However, life sometimes defies all logic.
Last week, during a particularly bad parenting day, I sat and had a loud and ugly cry. An old friend’s face crossed my mind and I suddenly longed to talk to her. She had gone through a very similar journey with her kids and I felt an overwhelming need to reconnect with her. However, we hadn’t spoken for a couple of years and I felt too weak and tearful to call her, particularly after so long. I prayed silently that somehow we would meet again.
About an hour later the phone rang and my son ran to answer it. Can you imagine my shock when the very girl I’d been thinking of was on the other end of the line, wondering if we could catch up? I was able to tell her what was troubling me and her words were both helpful and soothing – exactly what I needed to hear.
Looking back over my life I can see many of these ‘coincidences’. I’m sure you’ve experienced them too. How do we explain these times when forces beyond us seem to work for our good and restore our hope?
One evening I went to bed but each time I shut my eyes I saw a vision of an old man’s ashen face. I knew somebody was in trouble and I spent hours praying for this old man, still clueless about his identity. In the early hours of the morning the troubling vision finally left and I could shut my eyes and fall asleep in peace. At 6am the telephone rang and our aunt tearfully shared that our elderly uncle had passed away in the early hours of the morning.
Friday’s wind reminded me that there is so much I truly don’t understand, but having tasted a little of the wonder of the spiritual world, I long to know more.
The Spirit of God is described as a ‘rushing mighty wind’ in the Bible:
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Acts 2:2
It is interesting that even on the day of Pentecost the Spirit of God was heard and felt, rather than seen. Just because we can’t see something, doesn’t make it less real. An encounter with God’s spirit is indeed an awe-inspiring and life-changing experience yet it is also a mystery and something most of us can’t fully grasp.
Just like the wind, gusting around me, invisible yet real, I’m so often amazed by the ‘coincidences’ of life that reveal glimpses of the spiritual world. They are the enriching moments when I know that no matter how lonely, lost or fearful I may feel, there is a bigger plan, and that around me are invisible arms, gently holding me up, warming me and helping me take the next step forward.
One day I hope to see the beauty of this spiritual world in all its fullness. Until then I’ll be content to walk in the wind, keeping my heart and mind open to the many mysteries there are to discover.
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. I Corinthians 13:12