Wind of Change
“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
Looking out the window of the exercise center that I attend several times a week has become one of my favorite pastimes. It literally is a “pastime” because it makes the time past more easily and faster as I am doing one of my least most favorite, but necessary things to do. The views are nice; there is a lake where dozens of geese have taken residence, fish that we can actually see when the lake is not frozen over and all sorts of foliage that change with the seasons. You might say that I really get a “bird’s eye” view from the center’s second story perch, and it is beautiful with each season.One thing that I am learning about myself, even at this (ahem)...later stage, notice I didn’t say older, is that God speaks to me through nature, my surroundings. Now while I know that this is certainly not unique, it is exciting for me because His messages always line up with His Word and it is as clear as a bell to me. That is why none of us will be with an excuse when we stand before Him to say “Lord, I just didn’t know, You never showed me Your Truth.” He is a beyond fair God, a just God, not willing that any should perish and be separated from Him for eternity; and so He tentatively and patiently uses whatever means necessary to get our attention so that we know that He is not only with us, but He is for us.
One of the things that caught my attention as I looked out of that window is a tree, that even in this cold of winter and the other trees are bare, it still holds some of its “fruit”. Now while this may sound very noble of this tree, the fact is that because the “fruit” is beyond its season of harvest, it is now useless. The frost, and fluctuating temperatures have made it just a piece of nothing hanging on the tree. This scenario brought to me another lesson the Lord showed me…now go back with me several years…It was the end of the fall season 1995, this was before the back porch was enclosed and I would get up very early to sit there to have my time with the Lord before getting ready for work. It was a cool morning with the sun just rising and as I sat quietly gusts of wind came by and rustled the leaves on a nearby tree, causing them all to fall off and dance with the wind. I heard a voice in my heart say “My Spirit is moving and those that flow with me, those that are willing to trust me, let go and flow with me, will follow me, just as those leaves flowed with the wind.” To this day I don’t know why I did this, but God knows me is all I can say. Anyway I looked over in my neighbor’s yard and there was an Oak tree with lots of its leaves still attached. The same wind was gusting by, and yet the leaves on
that tree remained. So I asked “Lord but those leaves are still holding on.” And to that He replied to my heart “There will be many that will cling to what they believe is trustworthy, but whoever trusts in Me will hear My voice and flow with Me.”
Now you have to understand that was also during the time when a message coming from some nationwide pulpits was “God is doing a shaking and those that are not submitted to the leadership will be shaken off.” To be quite frank with you...that scared me! And that was because I did not know the character of God for myself. God does not shake us off and toss us away because we are not submitted to a man…He wants us to be submitted to His love, which He demonstrated through Jesus’ sacrifice. Now I see that He was speaking to me during a time when I had many questions about what I was experiencing. Thank You Lord!That was many years ago and I have never forgotten it. Many changes have come into my life…Major ones, minor ones. Some that made me feel as if I could not take the next breath without crumbling to pieces. Some that meant letting go when I thought it would be forever…some that meant taking a long good look at myself and seeing the real me who was not what I thought I was. False humility is a terrible thing. But through it all God has been so very faithful: assuring me it’s okay to breathe, I won’t fall apart; showing me it’s okay to let go, because He is there to catch me; and gently and lovingly holding the sides of my face as I look into the mirror of reality and see that though I’m not perfect, He is… and I can hide myself in Him as I surrender to His will.
The Wind of change is constantly blowing in our lives, God is constantly offering direction to flow with how His spirit is moving. Will we be like the tree whose leaves surrendered to the wind and effortlessly let go and danced with the wind, following its lead? Or will we be like that mighty Oak tree I saw that was tenaciously holding on to its leaves no matter how the wind blew. Or like that tree I see out the window that had its little fruit still holding on even in the winter, fruit but absolutely useless. There is a whole other message right there. Folks still holding on to things that God may have effectively used years ago, and refusing to change with His movement…Oh! As for my neighbor’s 40 foot Oak Tree that was holding on to those leaves, well a little storm came by a couple of years ago, called Hurricane Sandy, ever heard of it? Well Mr. Oak Tree was introduced to Ms. Sandy and guess what? Sandy must not have liked it, because down Mr. Oak tree went, all 40 feet of it. My neighbor could not understand how the tree that is known for its sturdiness could topple so easily, when the other more fragile trees withstood the storm. Well, and this is another message within itself but, in a nutshell: apparently the roots (foundation) of the oak
tree had been compromised when some stump grinding of nearby trees in close proximity were done earlier in the year. Mr. Oak Tree’s exterior appearance looked very stable but its roots weren’t as deep as it thought, so when Sandy came along that October 2012, it literally became a push over…with all its leaves still firmly attached… ‘nough said.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”