Here in Iowa we know about wind. Almost every day the wind is a substantial component of our weather, at least during the daylight hours. Overnight it may settle down, but during the day you better plan on holding onto whatever is in your hands. We don’t get too excited about how hard it blows until it begins approaching 30-35 miles per hour. Those are the days we call windy. If you have a flag or a kite there’s a very good chance you will be able to watch it fly on most days.
The kind of wind that really gets our attention is a cold north wind. On any given winter day with a cold north wind blowing, the countryside is spotted with cattle and horses living in the open. They stand facing south, their backs to the biting wind. Their response is a reflex to protect themselves.
It’s the same reflex we employ when we are threatened. It may be a cold north wind, a driving rain, a possibility of danger or injury, a painful relationship, even a hurtful word, or an unexpected betrayal. When we face these things our first reflex is to turn our backs, literally or relationally. We shield our faces and our vulnerable feelings from the attack and harshness that we encounter by turning away, covering up, putting up walls, withdrawing, avoiding, and even ending relationships.
We’ve all been there. Your friend suddenly cut ties with no explanation. The person you trusted betrayed your confidence and blamed you. Someone embarrassed you with your past and seemed to think it was entertaining. Tragedy hit, sickness entered, financial plans fell through, your integrity was questioned, the storms of life have hit, and you want to defend yourself.
There is a better way. Living in Christ, the truth is that we are covered front and rear from every assault of every kind. We have been given the belt of truth to hold us steady and the breastplate of righteousness to protect us where we’re vulnerable. Our shield of faith and helmet of salvation defend our hearts and minds from being misled and deceived about who we are and how much God loves us. The word of God and prayer help us hear from God and give us truth to measure all other things by. The Lord Himself both goes before us and is our rear guard defending us from what we cannot see, from the attacks that try to sneak up on us or invade full force from our blind side. These attacks must come though Him before they can touch us, and if He allows them He causes them to work for our good even when we can’t see it right away.
If we insist on defending and protecting ourselves, we are the only defense we have. We have stepped out from under His shelter and protection and we are limited to our own wits and devices. We can rest, instead, in the knowledge that our Lord is in control of even the things that make no sense to us. He treasures our willingness to walk where we cannot see with only the touch of His hand and the light we need for the next step. We need to help and support one another when these challenges come by praying that we walk in God’s truth and trust in His love. We must encourage each other to trust that He loves us in the face of all evidence to the contrary, and pray. Pray for all. Pray hard. Pray long.