Today, as I look out the window, the world is shrouded in pristine, hoarfrost splendor. It’s frigidly fragile and unspeakably beautiful, as the most mundane of objects become sheathed in frosty white. Even more amazing, it’s been like this for a whole week now, which is an exceptional occurrence. The wind, (which I can actually hear whistling around the corners this very minute), is unable to dislodge the glistering glory, as it hangs on with a fierce, icy tenacity. Winter does have some moments that take your breath away, not just with the cold, but with incomparable beauty. Today, however, the combination of high humidity, the gusting wind and icy conditions makes the dramatic mise-en-scène much more gratifying when observed from inside doors.
Forgive me, as I reference the weather, yet again. In case you haven’t already figured it out, I once seriously considered meteorology as a career option! It still captivates me. Winter is a season of dormancy; when inclement conditions force all of nature, ourselves included, to move at a much slower pace. We become more reflective, much more cocooned, as we are driven indoors. It’s not a time, primarily, for activity, but rather, passivity. The seasons in our lives change also. If we are sensitive to the signs, we learn to slow down, release our frenetic intentions, and just drift.
The art of ‘drift’ is highly despised and underestimated in our generation. We are superior creatures who should be in command of our own destiny, aren’t we? We’re under the delusion that are we are controlling our little kingdoms from the touch-pad of our devices. Once again, let’s learn from nature. How many times have you hunkered down in your home as midwinter blustered outside the doors? You snuggled peacefully in your bed, deep in sleep, while the frigid chill blasted through the night. In the morning, you emerged to a blinding sea of downy white perfection. Time, wind and icy cold worked the unimaginable. The one-of-a-kind miracle of the snowflake and the hoarfrost become multiplied by countless myriads, forming the most exquisite curvilinear lines and gorgeous geometries. Moment by moment, the drift fashioned flawless wonders.
The Holy Spirit is the great wind of God. Though life is full of difficult, contrary circumstances, the He is moving through all of it. He’s blowing on the pain, confusion, dysfunction and despair, and shaping them with His hand. Through long nights of perplexity and privation, the reaping of our own selfish choices or the sinfulness of others, His unfathomable presence broods over us, fashioning beauty from stark negation. Jesus Himself describes the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives;
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:6-8
There is a void in us, tender hollows we cannot even perceive, for the delicate, yet masterful infilling of the Holy Spirit. Deep calls unto deep. Something in us is waiting for the sound of the wind, the sound of the still, small voice, to order our steps. It has always been like this; a deliberate jealousy, marking the yearning of God for His creatures. James 4:5-8 throws out the provocative statement “Does not Scripture say…’The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously’?”
The Holy Spirit is jealous for us. Do we have a clue what that really means? Try to grasp it; that the eternal God yearns for our acknowledgement and attention! Recapture the mystery; the incomparable truth that the Lord chooses to work hand-in-hand with His creations, and He waits for us to give Him the permission to do so. He gives us the ultimate privilege of free will in the equation of who, and what, will build our lives. We choose to walk humbly and dependently upon Him while He does this shaping, honing, cleansing, and perfecting…or we don’t. He transforms our circumstances, personality, work, or relationships with divine forces of grace…or He doesn’t. I find it extremely interesting that I’m writing about ‘drift’ hard on the heels of my full-steam-ahead-and-damn-the-torpedo’s Jericho march of last week! Though it may seem paradoxical, the two do indeed go together. They’re opposite sides of the same coin of belief and obedience. There’s a moment for ruthless march, and another for breathless stillness; I push hard upon privilege, but then, I respectfully release my will. I simply ‘drift’ in the Holy Spirit at the appointed moment. It’s the mastery of quiescence.
How much can I trust Him? When there are no straightforward answers, no clear direction, no cavalry thundering over the horizon to my rescue, maybe I’ve come to the supreme moment of letting go. When it’s not going the way I think it should, it’s time to take myself out of the equation. One of the most difficult, but interesting things about learning to drift in His Spirit, is how differently the situation ends up, when shaped by grace. Just like the magnificent snowdrift, it has a distinctive, sculptural exactness all its own. Usually, I know I have been in divine flow when I feel perfectionism and condemnation lift off of me, and I accept the situation as it is. I stop wrestling. I trust that He has my best interests at heart.
Why should my life be any more complicated than the gossamer dandelion seed, borne weightlessly, but surely, to its fruitful place on an unseen breeze? Have I come to a maturity where I trust my spirit to inflate like a military parachute, peacefully countermanding destructive free-falls, and catch the updraft of His covenant faithfulness? I hope so. I long to be shaped into something truly extraordinary, like the elegant, sinuous, snowdrift. After all, my name is Crystal.