Published September 13, 2016

Paul's Epistle
"God Will Provide The Wind"

Among the most beautiful sights we've seen at the shore or on the river is that of sailboats, whose colorful sails catch the wind in just the right way to propel them where the sailors want to go. I confess, I'm always amazed at the knowledge required and technical skill involved in tacking to move forward even when the wind seems to be blowing in the "wrong" direction.

But there is one thing that today's sailors need – just as it has been from the earliest days of sailing – and that is, of course, wind. Without the wind, a sailing vessel cannot go anywhere. Sailing vessels are, after all, designed to sail, propelled by the wind. Without wind, they are becalmed, to use the nautical term. They are motionless. They go nowhere.

You and I are like that. We need wind, too, to move forward. But the "wind" we need is the type provided by God. Remember what happened on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2:2? The disciples were together, "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting." God was providing the "wind" that these disciples needed as the church was being founded. It was nothing less than the enablement of the Holy Spirit for the work God was giving them to do.

The problem is, sometimes we might feel "dead in the water" when it comes actually to doing what we should be doing. We are "becalmed," although there is nothing calming about it.

This reminds me of a song Allegiance sings called "God Will Provide The Wind." It was written by Haley Kemp, wife of group member Kasey Kemp. I asked her to tell me what inspired the song, and here's her response:

"I was singing with my family group, the Angela Lilly Trio, at an old restored barn which the owner uses for concerts. He got up to speak after we had sung our first half. He had been a bit discouraged about keeping everything going, and what to continue doing with the barn. But, through his uncertainty, he said, ‘But folks, if we put up our sail, God will provide the wind.'

"It really spoke to me that night," Haley writes, "and I thought it sounded like a song. Often times for a Christian, God's will for our lives can seem to be one of the most challenging things to figure out, so to speak. Life is easy in our comfort zones, even though we know He has more for us. As difficult as we can make it, the reality is, if we will just be willing vessels, make an effort and put a whole lot of trust in the Lord (figuratively put up our sails), God will provide everything we need (figuratively, the wind)."

Perhaps that barn owner/concert promoter was inspired by 4th century church leader Augustine of Hippo. He is quoted as saying, "God provides the wind, man must raise the sail."

Here's some of how Haley put that in song:

     "God has a plan for everyone to do,
     So get up on your feet and let Him work through you.
     He'll guide your steps, He'll hold your hand.
     So let Him work His master plan.
     God has a plan for everyone to do."

     "Put up your sail, God will provide the wind.
     Put up your sail, and God will provide the wind.
     Never fear, just always trust in Him."

In other words, God is ready (and certainly able) to propel you forward with the work He wants you to do. He has already provided you with the "raw materials" you need — your interests, your talents, your gifts. Where God calls, He equips. But you must "tap into" that enabling "wind" that God wants to provide through the Holy Spirit and be that "willing vessel" that Haley mentioned. You must, so to speak, "put up your sail."

Paul was like that. He told Timothy, "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry..." (1 Timothy 1:12). The writer of Hebrews (13:21) prayed for his readers that God would "equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ..."

What work does God have for you to do? He has already provided you with the "boat" – your gifts for ministry. But if you're feeling "dead in the water," you need to rely even more fully on the Lord. You need to be willing to move forward. You need to pray for a fuller understanding of His will for your life. You have to unfurl your sails and start catching the "wind" that He offers to propel you forward in working for Him.

"Lord, thank You for being the wind in our sails."

- Paul

Lyrics to "God Will Provide The Wind" used by permission, as sung by Allegiance. Written by Haley Ashlyn Kemp, LeeMike Music BMI

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