It was so windy the day we laid my dad to rest the tent at his gravesite nearly blew away. Funeral home representatives and a few tall cousins literally had to hold onto the four poles and even then I think I saw one of them lift into the air with their feet off the ground. A pastor suggested the weather phenomenon could be a thousand angel wings carrying Dad home, and asked if we could feel them. I could. God’s presence was felt on that hill top even though our hearts were in a valley shadowed by death. After the service I overheard two country men, who’ve always lived close to the earth, comment they’d never seen the wind blow hard and steady all day like that.
Could it have been the presence of God? I get teary-eyed thinking about how God comforts us. John 14:16 reminds us of Jesus’ words, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.” The Helper is the Holy Spirit (aka the Comforter), who has arrived before on the wings of the wind. Acts 2:2 describes the arrival of the Holy Spirt, “And suddenly there came from Heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.”
I recently heard a story about how sheep in the dry desert appear to be grazing on rocks, but upon closer investigation, they are actually nibbling small blades of grass. There is a wind that blows off the Mediterranean Sea carrying moisture into the desert causing vegetation to grow enough to provide substance for the sheep. Every afternoon the hot sun destroys any remaining blades, and every morning (like with manna) the wind once again brings moisture thus producing substance just for that day. May we likewise be sustained, one day at a time, by God’s comfort and love.
A few days after the funeral, we were writing notes of appreciation and recording all the ways people have blessed us during this difficult time. If someone gave us flowers or sympathy cards, their name got written in a memorial book we received from the funeral home. My 6-year-old great nephew took great interest in the process and was determined to get his name in the book. He borrowed some paper and crayons and after a few minutes returned with a card he gave Nanna that read, “I love you no matter what.” Then he stood there waiting, until she wrote his name in the book. It blew me away. I wondered if that’s what Jesus meant when He said we need to come to Him as the little children do…We need to do all we can to get our name in THE Book.
To be clear, I don’t believe for one minute we get in that divine registry by our own works…but it does require our response to Jesus. We’re not perfect, but Jesus fixed us a way into salvation.
As a side note, my dad understood fixing things. He fixed a chimney top using a hubcap. He fixed a hole in a muffler with a soup can that had both ends cut out. And I even saw him fix Nanna’s broken toe at the beach with a pair of underwear and two Popsicle sticks!
And Jesus—how did He fix our imperfection problem? He paid the price for our sins on the cross. Maybe we have a sordid past, are in a current lifestyle we weren’t designed for, have an unhealthy pattern of returning to a vice, or are broken by the loss of someone who was a big part of us. Some things are hard to talk about, but I thought maybe someone else needed to hear this. Whatever our brokenness is and whichever way the wind blows, Jesus’ response is always the same, “I love you, no matter what.”
Janet Cowger- Fliegel