One of my birthday cards was an apache blessing:
may the sun bring you new energy by day,
may the moon softly restore you by night,
may the rain wash away your worries,
may the breeze blow new strength into your being,
may you walk through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.
My friend wrote inside the card about how we are having too much rain at the moment! Rather than the rain washing away our worries it tends to be causing more with flooding and transport disruptions. With pictures of people being blown over by the strong wind the new strength being blown into our being seems either apt or a reminder of how refreshing a breeze can be!
I love metaphors which draw on natural images and am very mindful of how Jesus used illustrations from the world around him when he told parables. However, metaphors always have limits and the weather at the moment is perhaps showing them up or offering a new angle on them. If I think about the Holy Spirit as a wind (John 3.8) then I can resonate a little with the notion of gale force winds as there have been times when the Holy Spirit has blown with such force in my life that elements have been destroyed and need to be rebuilt but the destruction was not experienced as negative, disconcerting perhaps, but it was the trigger for a new phase of life. If I think of the idea of rivers of living water (John 7.37-9) and reflect on the story I heard on the radio about how water tables are filling up and from that new rivers are emerging that only appear when this happens. While the reality of this is challenging and tragic for those who are impacted the image this offers in relation to the work of God is for me inspiring and encouraging. Much of ministry can feel like rain – we do it and it sinks invisbly below the ground but one day we see a sign of all that watering we have done and new life springs up in someone or somewhere – and perhaps we forget all that has gone before that has caused it but hopefully we give thanks to God that the springs of living water, the water available to those who are thirsty is now being drunk.