What I Learned about God in the Windstorm

December 15, 2014 — Leave A Comment


“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord God Almighty is his name.” ~ Amos 4:13

The wind is howling outside this morning. It reminds me of a day a few weeks ago when the weather service issued a severe wind warning for my mountain valley. Now this is no minor thing; the mountains can funnel the wind in some mighty destructive ways up here. This particular warning said gusts could reach 90 miles per hour.

Needless to say, I was nervous about it. Sometimes the howling gets so fierce it feels like the house is going to rip right off the mountain. As I prayed that morning about the coming windstorm, trying (unsuccessfully) to surrender my anxiety to God and trust Him, I felt as if He whispered in my heart…

“Pay attention today. I’m going to teach you something about myself through the wind.”

This greatly encouraged me, as it meant God would definitely be present in the wind, whatever happened. Somehow this made the danger acceptable to me.

So I battened down the house and watched and waited all day long…but the winds never came. Oh there was a quick gust here or there toward late afternoon, but nothing like a windstorm at all. I came all the way to dusk waiting for the wind, but it simply never arrived.

Instead there was this amazing sunset: Huge roiling cables of clouds belted the sky, all orange and salmon and deep fire blue, framed into bands by winds high in the atmosphere; the same winds, I surmised, I’d been waiting for but had never made it to the ground.

(By the way, that’s a snapshot of the sunset in the photo above. The picture doesn’t really do it justice.)

So went the day. Winds up high maybe, but no windstorm at all, despite the weather service warning declaring there would be.

I said to God, “What does it mean?”

He replied, “You figure it out.”

So typical.

As I’ve pondered it, then, the most obvious lesson that’s come to me is simply this:

God cannot be predicted.

The Spirit of God is wild and free and cannot be boxed or tamed or told what to do or where to go or how to be. “The wind blows wherever it pleases” (John 3:8), and while it is always consistent with who God really is, it will always surprise and undo the doctrinal constructs we build to contain and demystify the dangerous untamed freedom of God. As Rich Mullins so aptly described it, the love of God is a “reckless, raging fury.”

God will always be more, and far different, than we predict or expect. This can either terrify me, or invite me into a grand adventure I never expected to need so deeply. The choice is mine, and I make it every day. So do you.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
~Isaiah 55:8-9

How has God surprised you with His wildness lately?

Michael Warden

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2 responses to What I Learned about God in the Windstorm

  1. Thank you Michael, for this reminder of who God is…and who He won’t be. Beauty and power and unpredictability…sounds other to me.

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