Resilience

Advancing Against the Wind (Part I)

Author: Brendon O'Dowd, Chaplain, U.S. Air Force LTC (Ret.)

Photo by US Air Force is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Marching.  Despite all our technology and developments in warfare, the military still marches.

Unified & Organized

Basic training familiarizes us with the discipline of walking as a group, while formal ceremonies ensure we never forget those lessons.  Although we don’t march in formation on deployments, we do seek to advance upon our enemies in a disciplined and cautious manner.  In warfare, retreat is not an option, so we are constantly on the move.

Advancing against an enemy with a headwind introduces us to a whole new level of frustration.  The desert and mountain regions where we deploy have wind, and it brings dust, the smell of burned trash, and an attending intensity of cold and/or heat.  Advancing against the wind is an exhausting experience that food and rest can’t always help.

Tired and aching bodies mixed with loneliness can often produce frustration, anger, and doubts about the mission.

These experiences and feelings are nothing new.  Generations of warriors have felt the same way even in different climates.  These feelings are of course not limited to war, since we all experience the same raw emotions at times in our day-to-day lives.

Context

In Mark 6, the disciples were rowing across a large lake when the wind began to blow hard against them.  The text says the disciples were straining or toiling with the oars.  The Greek word used for straining is also used to describe torture.  In other words, trying to move forward was torture.  Where was Jesus?  Mark tells us, Jesus “saw” them and then intended to “pass by them.”  His plan was to walk across the lake and meet them on the other side.  It was like He didn’t care how difficult and frustrating the task was to His disciples.

The disciples noticed Him on the water, and thinking He was a ghost, they freaked out.  Jesus responded by telling them to have courage and not be afraid because “It is I” or literally “I am”.  In those two words, Jesus is claiming to be God (Yahweh in the flesh) and the proof came when the wind stopped as He climbed into the boat.  Interestingly, the wind didn’t seem to bother Jesus.  He still had to deal with the wind, but it wasn’t stopping Him from His purpose.

The Key

This incident is a reminder that Jesus is the key to finding rest, peace, and even purpose when the wind is blowing and chaos seems to be reigning.  His control and authority over all things, along with His presence, should change our perspective.

So, what can you do when you are in the midst of a windstorm? Part 2 will help you navigate the storms of life with some practical principles for application.

If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.

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