The Wind And Its Mercy

boy with man and umbrella(

The wind blew my neighbor’s screen door right off its hinges. I had woken earlier in the night to its howl. I thought it was the train. Then the bang of tree limbs against the side of the house penetrated my sleep haze. It’s just the wind. I rolled over and went back to sleep. I like the wind. My mother does not.

Perhaps it has something to do with her jostling about in my grandmother’s womb during the Hurricane of 1938. hurr1938(

When I say I like the wind, I mean I mostly like the wind. I have a line. It’s an invisible line, but I know when the tempest crosses it I find I’m the first one up at the window scanning the sky. I’m watching how fast the clouds move…how far back the trees are bending.

I remember one night when I was little having to leave a big tent in a hurry, my father throwing one of my sisters up onto his shoulders. He wouldn’t let another sister go back to get a sneaker that got pulled off her foot as hundreds of us made our way across a mud-sodden, shoe sucking field. The wind whiplashed our hair into our mouths and pressed our shirts into our chests.

In the headlights of the cars trying to leave the field -turned -parking lot, I could see my father’s face had gone tight, the muscles working at his mouth. It was an unfamiliar sight as he was, and still is, a man who is hardly afraid of anything. A man who, two summers ago, didn’t blink an eye in an overhead lightning storm, calmly rooted to his front porch regaling me with yet another story while I jumped from my rocker at every flash and peal. He is a man who stares down dangerous things like copperheads and bully police officers.

Yet, even this man has a line.

That night in Pennsylvania when word came during an outdoor church service that a tornado had touched down a mile away, instead of staring the thing down, my father chose to high-tail us out of there. Wind does that sometimes. It makes us want to run.


Most of us welcome its cool gentle breeze on a hot day. We breathe in her autumn flurry as she rustles the leaves into a dance.We laugh out loud at her gusts that carry our kites over the dunes.

It’s when the wind takes a turn and threatens to knock us down…to fiercely flatten us…promising to pummel then push us up against a wall…it is here that we learn we are at its mercy.

It’s like when you decide to walk the two miles to the doctor’s office for your son’s nine month checkup on a beautiful fall day, only to have the pediatrician say, “I don’t like the look of his liver….I need to run some tests.”

A gust flutters your heart on a very long walk home.

trees in wind(

Or when you’re dreaming about the new house your husband is building and what your new kitchen will look like and maybe there will even be a sewing room. You overhear the girls giggling about the color of their new shag carpet and finally, the boy will have his own room. Then one day you and the kids are abandoned, the place you’re living in, with its ugly lime green cabinet and mattress- on- the- floor beds is abandoned, too. That new house? Just a wind ravaged shell of framed nothin’.

Hurricane force winds changes the whole landscape of your life.

hurricane katrina(Hurricane Katrina in Black and White-

Maybe it’s the day your uncle kisses your aunt good-bye, tousles his sons’ heads and whispers in his six month old daughter’s ear right before the end of it. You never walk the fields of his farm with him again because a man came drunk-careening down a hill at six o’clock in the morning and didn’t see your uncle pull out of his driveway.

You taste the bitter pill of a tornado’s destruction.

2013-08-29-MitchDobrowner_FunnelCornfield(Mitch Dobrowner- Huffington Post)

It blows seeds and rips trees.
How do we live with its uncertainty?
How do we breathe peace when we don’t know what the next storm will bring?

The only way to embrace all the windy days is to realize they are all His.

Who has ascended into heaven and descended?  Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son’s name? Surely you know!

Surely we know, we need to know His name is Jesus. The One that can hold the wind in His fists holds us, too. He is the only One who promises to get us to the other side.

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”  Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.  A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.

But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD, I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hands…

My times are in his hands when an out of the blue incident happens in a far away land and my son is there in the midst of a storm that blows hard for six days and I can’t go to be with him. I know he is being buffeted about, that a dishonest and injurious wind has him pushed up against the dark side of humanity  and nothing nothing nothing is in his control or mine or his dad’s. We get bits and pieces of the truth like debris blown about desperate for a place to land.  I know this boy. He who has stood up to injustice his whole life is now facing some of his own and that his heart, my heart, so many hearts are being shaken to the core and I can’t do a thing about it.

I am at mercy.

Mercy is not just a thing one receives. It’s a place. It can’t be seen, but one knows when one has been there. We are smart to get low when the ferocity of a tornado or hurricane blows through the landscape. And we are oh so wise when we find ourselves at the threshold of God’s ferocious mercy and we realize we must get low.

It is in this place of mercy where God’s majesty and power and His amazing amazing amazing love that we discover how much this love covered us. How much His love rescued us. How much His love searched through the rubble of our sin-blown, wind blown lives and put us back on solid ground.
And not one of us deserved it.

adulterous woman and jesus

So like God to cloak His majesty and power in invisibility and then show the results of His power in the dirt, the bud, the water, and yes, the wind. Dare I say, the human heart, too?

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

This is the wind of mercy.
This is the wind of grace.

Many heartfelt thanks to all the friends who rallied around the Traveler and helped him move forward. There are some windy days when we just need a little help from our friends.







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