Archive for the Category » Contentment «

Bob Dylan, revisited

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind. Well, Bob Dylan, I certainly hope you were wrong when you penned those lyrics, because if you’re not, “the answer” is somewhere between Rangoon and Timbuktu.

You know it’s bad when the same agency that issues Amber Alerts and tornado warnings actually sends out emergency notifications for BLOWING DUST. I live on a dirt road, so the only silver lining I can see lurking behind the brown cloud is that there’s no sense in cleaning the house before June. Watching the endless torrent of tumbleweeds whizzing by almost makes me wish that I’d been smart like that one lady who gathers up the nasty nuisances and sells them to people who think it’s chic to decorate them with ornaments and tinsel at Christmastime. But I guess it could be worse. I remember my mother-in-law telling stories about what it was like growing up on the Kansas plains during the Dust Bowl and how people actually suffocated to death because there was so much dirt in the air.

Still, here in southeastern Colorado we have good reason to complain about the wind. Living in an agricultural region so hard hit by drought, it’s particularly exasperating having the wind deplete what little moisture is left in the ground. Plus who wants to go out in the brown bluster anyway? It just adds insult to injury when you have to make the already dreaded trip to Walmart. Even the animals don’t want to brave it. Whenever I try to get Scarlett the Schnauzer to go outside, she falls to the ground in a boneless heap and I have to drag her limp carcass across the floor and punt it out the door. Then to top it all off, the wind messes up my hair. I strive for the “messy” look and it takes me a long time to get my hair to look like I didn’t do much with it. So I definitely do NOT appreciate the wind messing up my mess.


I haven’t always lived on the eastern plains of Colorado. This is just the culmination of a string of garden spots the hubster has moved me to over the years. When people ask him how we wound up here, he thinks it’s funny to say, “I told her that if she’d marry me, I’d take her places.” Little did I know then that those places would include 11 miles north of Wiley, seven miles north of Sugar City, and our present stomping ground of La Junta, 50 miles north of nothing. I’m laughing so hard.

No, my married life actually began in one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen. We lived on a ranch abutting the picturesque Black Forest where our home sat perched on the crest of a sloping hilltop with an unobstructed view of Pikes Peak. The hills were alive with the sounds of twittering bluebirds, rustling pines, and an occasional moo from the pasture cattle. At the 8,000-foot elevation, the climate was perfect: there was no need for air conditioning . . . there were no bugs . . . it was pure bliss. Well, mostly bliss.

Up until then, I had never seen the wind blow like it could up there. When it decided to blow, it didn’t mess around. Admittedly, it couldn’t even begin to shake a stick at what other people in more turbulent climes routinely experience; places where it takes more than your house doing a little Irish jig to get you heading for the storm cellar. But it was a first for me. At times it was so bad that we stayed awake through the night just in case the house decided to launch itself into orbit. We still laugh about the time my sister-in-law came and stayed with us while she looked for a place of her own in town. After one particularly turbulent night, we found out the next morning that she’d been so traumatized by the shake-rattle-and-rolling that she had spent the night in the bedroom closet.


Well, with so much angst blowing around lately, I am tempted to say that I actually hate the wind; but I’m trying to save my hatred for things like my sin, false teaching, all unrighteousness, and things like that—you know, the stuff God hates.

Down in Texas where my daughter Angie goes to school, it’s been equally as windy. A while ago, she texted this to me (and this is an EXACT quote):

OH MY GOSH I HATE THE WIND HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE IT

While I certainly share her aversion to the wind, as her mother it’s my duty to help her to see the bigger picture.

I told her that I wished God could do a better job of controlling the weather.

I told her that when the apostle Paul said he’d learned to be content in all things, surely he didn’t mean anything as depressing and distressing as this wind.

I told her how easy it is to let the stressful circumstances of life cloud our perspective.

I told her I’ve been contemplating the sovereignty of God.


If anyone had the right to grumble, it was the apostle Paul. The Bible records the following summary of his tribulations: far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). Yes, if anyone had the right to grumble, it was Paul.

And yet Paul’s faith never wavered. He never got to the end of his patience wadding up his tongue into a fist and shaking it at God for being either unfair or indifferent. No, he endured all the trials and tribulations, knowing that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). Makes my wind-driven angst look embarrassingly and pathetically puny. Makes me wonder if my faith is, too.


So I guess the ultimate question is really this: Do I TRUST God? Do I talk and live like I believe that He’s in control of everything? Because if He’s not, who is? I sure hope it’s not me, because I can’t even figure out how to use my cell phone properly. They tell me it’s possible to answer a call that comes in while I’m texting, but I still haven’t figured out how to do it without disconnecting the caller.

If it’s up to me to be the master of my soul, the captain of my fate . . . then Houston, we have a problem. Where’s the manual explaining how to set a course; how to maneuver; how to do maintenance; how to weather turbulent seas; how to deal with emergencies; HOW TO BLOW THE HORN??

Thankfully, there’s a book for that: the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. The BIBLE.


Paul summed up his confidence like this: I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him [Christ] who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11-13).


So instead of grumbling, WHAT IF . . .

What if my hunger to serve God was as intense as my loathing for the wind?  And what if every time I thought or commented about the wind, I instead spoke a word of thanks for some blessing God has bestowed on me?  And what if I determined to witness to a lost soul every time the wind blew over 10 mph? And JUST WHAT IF I considered the wind to be a blessing instead of a curse because it reminded me of God’s sovereignty and the perfection awaiting me in heaven?


One of the verses in Bob Dylan’s song is this.

Yes, ’n’ how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t  see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

I want to be the person who does see — who sees the circumstances of life through the eyes of God.

That’s why I’m going to pass on Blowin’ in the Wind. I’d much rather be standing on

The Solid Rock

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

(Refrain)
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

rock1

Category: Contentment  2 Comments
%d bloggers like this: