“Blowing In The Wind”
From the beginning of time, man has sought many ways to find and understand the meaning and purpose of life. One of the most common symbols for portraying the search has been the wind. The writer of Ecclesiastes described life as a feudal striving after wind. The rock group, Kansas viewed man as nothing more than dust in the wind. Folk singer, Bob Seger sang of life as running against a wind. And Bob Dylan describes life’s meaning as a blowing in the wind. But they’re all saying the same thing. That life’s meaning, like the wind, is beyond the control and comprehension of man. As John 3:8 says, the wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear it sound, but you can’t tell where it comes from or where it’s going. The fact that both are incomprehensible, however, does not mean that they have no purpose or meaning. Christopher Columbus used the wind to discover the new world. He was not the first, however, to try reaching East by sailing West from Europe. Two Portuguese mariners, sailed West in search of the fable isles of Antigua seven years before Columbus’s venture.
Their course took them West from Portugal past the Azores, directly into the headwinds blowing out from the new world. Those headwinds known as the Westerlies, writer Joseph Conrad described as a monarch gone mad driving forth with wild implications to shipwreck disaster and death. [inaudible] were never heard from again. Columbus’s success lay in his knowledge of the winds. Sailing South from Portugal, he picked up the Easterlies blowing out from Africa and rode them into the history books. His return journey took him North into the Westerlies and a storm tossed journey home. Daniel Boorstin in his bestseller book, The Discoverers related an ancient legend about Caesarius, the fourth century Archbishop of Arles who grieved at the sterility of this mountain locked valley, caught the sea breezes in his glove and released them into the valley, transforming it into a verdant and fertile haven. Neither Columbus nor Archbishop Caesarius knew much about aerology, climatology or meteorology, they did however know where to find a wind and how to harness it. That is the secret to understanding the meaning and purpose of life. Bob Dylan was correct when he sang, the answer is blowing in the wind.
Several years ago, a 16 young man was placed in Juvenile Hall on very serious felony charges. Serious enough if convicted, he could be received an adult sentence and adult institution. Claiming his innocence, he pleaded not guilty. Following a year of criminal proceedings, he finally beat the charges. Two months after his release, however, he was rearrested on similar charges. During what ultimately was this two year confinement in Juvenile Hall, he and I had spent a great deal of time together. He liked to keep our talks focused on his physical and emotional needs, but there were times when he would allow me to pray for him. During such moments, it was not uncommon for him to break down and cry in my presence. And that such times I’d wrap a general arm around his shoulders to support him, as his private nightmare would come to envelop him.
He likely would’ve beat the charges the second time had not the wind entered those private parts of the soul and confronted him with the truth. The conversion which followed was remarkable. He eventually stood up in court and confessed his guilt without the aid of an attorney or a plea bargain. He is now in prison serving out his sentence, but it has been marvelous to watch as cold gangster bravado give way to a warm and sensitive spirit. He wrote, “thank you Chuck, for not giving up on me. You truly are a good friend”. Columbus’s knowledge of geography was primitive, but his knowledge of the winds was not. That young man like Columbus cast his fate to the wind and blew him into the new world. As John 3:8 states, so it is with everyone born of the spirit.