Celebrate the Power that Never Goes Out
by Deacon Christine Maddux
Our dachshund Ziva is small but courageous. With ten pounds of doxie moxie, she gladly greets much bigger dogs, noisy vacuum cleaners, and invading delivery trucks. But there is one thing to which she yields: the wind. When out in the wind, she is visibly bothered by the capricious, invisible force that ruffles her floppy ears. Not knowing where the wind is coming from or when it might strike, the otherwise-brave Ziva is eager to return to the shelter of our house.
I also have to yield occasionally to the blustery wind on the plateau. Twice recently the electrical power has gone out, once when I was on deadline and just about to click “send” to submit my column. But the wind intervened, downing a tree somewhere and taking the internet, lights and heat offline for several hours.
When this happens, modern life temporarily grinds to a halt. It’s not too bad when there is daylight, no imminent deadline, and the coffee has already been brewed. But when it gets dark, the temperature drops, and the menu shifts to peanut butter sandwiches, a power outage becomes more serious. It is that way in our spiritual lives as well.
We often take our spiritual power source for granted – it’s invisible, but available. Being disconnected from it seems manageable when life is going alright and there are no crises at hand. But when trouble blows in and the world looks darker, we become acutely aware of how helpless we are without that spiritual power connection. We start groping for it intently, like hunting madly for a flashlight when the lights go out.
Ironically, the Bible describes spiritual power in some cases as a mighty wind. But this wind doesn’t cause a power outage; instead, it brings a supernatural power surge. For instance, when Jesus spoke to the inquisitive Nicodemus about being born again He said, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). By this Jesus explained that the Holy Spirit of God moves into a new believer like the wind — invisibly, yet powerfully enough to create an entirely new life.
We see this vividly in the dramatic story of the first Pentecost after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension. “When the day of Pentecost came, (the disciples) were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:1-2). With that and the accompanying tongues of fire, the disciples were infused with the promised Holy Spirit. Instantly, their fear was conquered and they were equipped to boldly spread the gospel near and far.
Every believer in Jesus Christ has this infusion of the Holy Spirit’s wondrous power within them (Romans 8:11). Yet when the demands of life press in on us, it can seem like our holy lights are starting to flicker. When this happens, we can rely on God’s promise to renew our strength (Isaiah 40:29-31), and pray for a fresh gust of his life-giving wind. Whenever you see the trees sway or feel the breeze on your face, let it be a reminder: “Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel – he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!” (Psalm 68:35)
Originally published in the Crossroads Chronicle, May 8, 2019.
The Rev. Christine Maddux is a Deacon at Christ Anglican Church in Cashiers. She invites you there on Sundays at 8:30 or 10:30 a.m. Please send your questions and comments to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.