“… there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind...” (Acts 2:1-2).
The wind can be a double-edged sword. How can something totally invisible have such an impact on our lives? Sometimes it’s for our good, as when wind turbines produce energy; sometimes it’s devastating, as in tornadoes and hurricanes.
I love the wind in the spring, when it gently carries the sweet aroma of wild honeysuckle blooms. In summer, even the slightest breeze cools my sweaty forehead as I work in the yard. October wind gusts scuttle fallen oak leaves along my driveway with the sound of rain. Cold wind whistles around the corner of the house as I fall asleep in front of my fireplace.
On the other hand, living in “Tornado Alley” – I’ve huddled in my bathroom closet or in a neighbor’s storm shelter a few times when tornadoes danced across our area. Just a couple of years ago, a tornado destroyed homes in the neighborhood a few blocks away.
The wind – harnessed for good
A recent issue of Ford Motor Company’s magazine caught my attention with its facts about the air in my auto tires. When the car is moving, air inside the tires becomes a windstorm of tornadic proportions. The molecules may travel at speeds up to one thousand miles per hour.
Still more intriguing are the benefits of that air, trapped as it is, inside circular tubes of rubber and steel as they speed down the Interstate. According to Ford, appropriate air pressure contributes to auto stability, safer braking, greater comfort, and fuel efficiency.
Those Ford facts turned my mind to the Bible’s occasional use of the wind as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. For example, Luke wrote in Acts 2:1-2: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:1-2, NASB).
I began to think about how the wind of the Holy Spirit benefits my life. He can travel faster than a thousand miles an hour. He’s already here with me, and like the air in my car tires, He offers my life stability, better braking, more comfort, and maximum efficiency.
The Spirit – Helper for me
Stability. In Isaiah 59:21, God promises Israel that His Spirit will never desert them: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring … from now and forever.”
It gives me an awful lot of confidence to know that His presence and power will always be there when I need Him. And the sheer longevity – “from now and forever” – of the promise should encourage every believer.
Braking. That’s right, the presence of the Holy Spirit will help me know when to put on the brakes. Looking to Isaiah again, God instructs: “Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it, whenever you turn to the right or to the left’” (Isaiah 30:21). As long as I pursue Him, He’ll tell me which direction to go, which choice to make.
There’s a good illustration of that in Acts 10:19-20 as Peter reflects on a vision God had given him. It was then that “the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are looking for you. But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.’”
I confess I’m not in tune with the Holy Spirit to the extent that I hear His voice, but I do believe He often guides and directs me, sometimes in very specific ways.
Comfort. The word helper refers to the Holy Spirit several times in the Gospel of John. In the King James Version, the word was translated comforter.
Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever,” he was assuring us that the Holy Spirit would be One who comforts us and helps us in our times of greatest need. Many times in life, I have needed the level of comfort that can come only from the presence of God Himself through the Holy Spirit.
Efficiency. Am I saying the Holy Spirit can make our lives more efficient? Of course He can. First of all, He will bring conviction on all people. John wrote, “And [the Holy Sprit], when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).
Second, the Holy Spirit will sharpen our minds and our memory so that we are equipped for whatever task lies before us. It was Jesus Himself who gave us this assurance: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 16:8).
The air in my tires is a good thing. I depended on it to make my trip safe as I traveled 450 miles to be with family during Christmas weekend. Yet, the wind of the Holy Spirit is an immeasurably better thing; I depend on Him daily to keep me safe in the journey that matters most.