Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Spiritual Windmills

Last year, my dad--who is a rancher--acquired a new plot of land to pasture his cattle. This place had a couple of barns, a small corral, and a stock pond (we call them "tanks" in east Texas). One of the items out at this place was a small decorative windmill that stood about 7 feet tall. It had a yaupon holly bush growing up through the middle of it and was not serving any sort of purpose whatsoever. For the longest time I thought, "Wow, that would be kind of cool in my yard." So, I asked my dad about it and he said I was welcome to have it.
Well, a few weeks ago, I was over at the pasture doing something and while I was there, I picked the windmill up, put it in my pickup, then brought it to my house. It sits in my front yard. I've heard that these small windmills are a deterrent for gophers because they don't like the vibrations they send through the ground. I cannot attest to the success or failure of the windmill as a gopher repellent. What has amazed me, though, is how much I enjoy watching the stupid thing. Yes, I get up in the morning, go to the kitchen window, and look at the windmill to see how hard the wind is blowing and which direction it is blowing from. It's a wonderful surprise in these summer months to see the windmill pointing toward the north and spinning at a brisk rotation!
Well, a few days ago, I was admiring the windmill and I was thinking about a verse of scripture. In the second chapter of Acts, the Holy Spirit is described as "a mighty, rushing wind". In the passage, it appears to be a literal wind as the spirit comes down and inhabits the believers at Pentecost. In John 3, Jesus is having his famous night-time conversation with Nicodemus and he says, "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." One of my favorite quotes from Billy Graham is that God is like the wind. We cannot see the wind. We can see the effects of the wind, but cannot see the wind itself.
Several years ago, I went through the study "Experiencing God" by Henry Blackaby. One of the teachings in the study is that we should find what God is doing through the Holy Spirit and join him there. I think every Christian would probably rather work alongside the Holy Spirit than work alone. But the working is not the hardest part. For most of us, it is finding where the Hoy Spirit is at work. What if we had a spiritual windmill to tell us what direction the "wind" was blowing and how powerful it was? Or do we have some of these spiritual windmills already? What are the indicators that God is at work? I think we often assume rapid growth of a church is a sign of God's movement. So what things serve as indicators of what God is doing?