HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit–John 3:8
Resistance to the Wind Brings Music, So Is It with Life in the Spirit
Again there are two elements in this utterance which it is well that we should bear in mind. And the first is that the music of the wind is the music of movement and obstruction. It is because the wind is moving that we hear it, but the music comes out not by movement only. It becomes audible to us in all its voices only when there is resistance in its path. As the breeze passes over the summer meadow, there is not a whisper to indicate its presence. We should never know that the wind was blowing there save for the tossing of a million daisies. But when it beats on the cheek of him who breasts the hill–when it hurls itself against the cottage gable–when it leaps angrily upon the armies of the forest, and they lift up their branches to defy it–then do we hear the music of the wind. So the spiritual life has its peculiar utterance because it moves, and moving, it is obstructed. If there were no obstructions, no obstacles, no difficulties, it might glide so silently that we should never hear it. It is in meeting these and overcoming them in the wonderful power of an indwelling Savior that men, marveling, hear the sound thereof.
The Wind Produces Music of Infinite Variety, So Does the Spirit
And then, as every one of us has known, it is a music of infinite variety–from the faintest melody as of some distant harp to the magnificence as of some mighty organ. Now it is like the melancholy sighing of a human heart from which all hope has fled. Now it is like the murmuring of waters amid the rocks and under the thick heather. And now it is like the thrilling song of battle that warriors sing when the lust of fight is on them, and they have found foes worthy of their steel. So is everyone that is born of the Spirit–the life in Christ has got a thousand voices. It is no harsh monotone, constantly repeated, unvarying, unmusical, unending. It is infinitely varied as the wind is varied, with a thousand cadences as of the aeolian harp–from the loud note of the trumpet in the morning to the scarcely audible whisper of the dying. Do not say that when a man is Christ’s, he must show it in this way or in that way. Euroclydon is very different from Zephyr, yet both of them are the breathing of the wind. So every life that is inspired of heaven has its distinctive spiritual utterance, for there are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit.
The Unknown and Mysterious Origin of the Wind
The next feature which our Saviour seizes on is the unknown and mysterious origin of the wind. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou canst not tell whence it cometh. “Hark, Nicodemus, do you hear it–crying and calling in the village street? Come now, you are a master in Israel, answer me this: Where has it travelled from?” And then when Nicodemus deprecated, as if to say, “Lord, how could I tell that?” Christ in His infinitely winsome way said, “so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Now of course, to a certain limited extent, we always can tell which way the wind has come. We have our vanes to indicate its course, and a straw will show which way the breeze is blowing. If from the west it has travelled from the sea; if from the north it has reached us from the hills. If it is balmy, it tells of warmer lands; and if it is icy, it speaks to us of snow. And yet, when all is known that can be known, what a range and reach there is that we know nothing of! The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou canst not tell whence it cometh. Where did it come from, that breath of heavenly wind that fanned your cheek as you came to church? What glens–what moors–what villages–what cities has it travelled through and passed in coming hither? Sooner or later men find the source of rivers, though they are hidden and shrouded as that of ancient Nile. But the wind, that river of the upper air–thou canst not tell, says Jesus, whence it cometh.
The Mysterious Movement of the Spirit of God
Now if there is one thing clear and constant it is that of spiritual renewal that is true. There was never a man yet who was born of God who did not feel that it ran into the mysteries. Of course to a certain extent, as with the wind, we can trace back the course of spiritual renewal. Perhaps we can point to a sermon or a prayer or a quiet talk with somebody we trusted; perhaps we can point to a striking and signal providence, or to a terrible illness when we fought with death, or to an open grave when the dull earth that thudded seemed to be falling on our heart. So is everyone that is born of the Spirit. We can trace out the history of little way. We can say it was this or that which changed us to the depths in the unerring providence of God. But when we have said all that and said it gratefully, then overpowers us the wonder of it all, and saved by grace when we deserved the darkness, we can but whisper, “We know not whence it cometh. “Who can tell–or who shall ever tell–what was behind that hour of decision? What prayers of a mother when we were little children, and she stole in at night and prayed when we were sleeping? And that is many years ago, dear friend, and you have lived a sorry life since then, God knows; but tonight, “Arise, shine, for thy light is come”–yes, come, and thou knowest not whence it cometh. Respond to the infinite love of Christ, and His Holy Spirit will come down and fill you. And you will go out wondering and awed, and crying, “I have got it, and know not whence it came.” But someday when the veil is lifted, you shall know, and you shall find behind it all a Savior’s sacrifice and a mother’s prayers and a minister’s entreaty and a love of God that chose you in eternity.
Its Goal Is Unknown and Unreckonable
Then the last feature which our Saviour seizes on is its unknown and Unreckonable goal. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou canst not tell whether it goeth. “Come, Nicodemus, thou who teachest others–thou hearest it–where is it going tonight?” “Lord, I cannot tell where it is going”–and so is everyone that is born of the Spirit. Over the city, and then whither away? An hour hence, and where shall the breeze be? Will it fill some sail–ruffle the mountain lake–travel to cities where the speech is strange? Thou knowest not, brother; and I am here to tell you that if you open your heart to the Spirit of God, no man can tell what power and use and blessing thou shalt travel on to from this hour. There are men and women whom we know quite well whether they are going. They are going to useless lives and unregarded graves with not one tear of genuine regret for them. But let a man respond to Christ and receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit–and thou knowest not whither thou shalt go. Thou shalt go to a life that is a joyous thing. Thou shalt go to a life that is a conquering thing. Thou shalt go to a power and usefulness and honour that will amaze thee, knowing what thou art. And then, at last, kept by the power of God, and plucked as a brand by Christ out of the burning, thou shalt go to be with Him, which is far better.