In ancient times, sailing ships were equipped with one or more banks of oars, so that when there was no wind, rowers, who were oftentimes slaves, could propel the ship across the waves. The problem was that they could only do this in spurts, and when the exhaustion point was reached, had to stop, and they could go no further. Wind, filling the sails of their ships, was treasured above all else. I hear the Spirit speaking in that.
Today, in the church, both in the individuals and corporate fellowships that comprise the body of Christ, I think we have countless rowers, but so little wind. We may well be busier in the church than ever. Going out, witnessing to a lost culture of the need for Christ, building programs, crafting strategies, writing books, having conferences, all with the purpose, the good purpose, of bringing Christ to the world. Yet, in the midst of that busyness, we are exhausted. Pastor's are leaving the ministry in droves, burnt out, used up. Congregations are comprised of people who hear the Words of His truth, but rely on the remedies of the world for depression, addiction, anger, and emotional, physical, and spiritual lameness. We look for rest in the same places it does, vacations, 3 day weekends, or escapes into entertainment, sex, and sports. We, who claim to follow the One who is the Great Physician, the Healer, have medicine cabinets filled with as many drugs as our unchurched neighbor. His Word tells us that the Government of all things rests upon His shoulders, but we look to secular government to care for us, becoming as dependent on it as those who are without Him. I am not saying that any of these things in themselves are bad or evil, or that they cannot be used by a believer, only that they have come to take the place of Him who is above all things, including these things. Because of it, we float listlessly, without the wind of the Holy Spirit.
In John 3, Jesus is talking with the religious leader Nicodemus about what it means to be "born again." He tells him, "Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven. So don't be surprised by My statement that you must be born again. Just as you can hear the wind but can't tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit." There lies so much of our problem. We want to be able to explain naturally what is supernatural. But Jesus said that human effort can only bring about human answers and results. There are books out that say they can tell us how to bring revival to our churches. Yet Jesus said that we cannot know, or control, where the Spirit comes from, or where it is going, so we will never be able to have a "how to" manual for creating revival.
Have we, you and I, been at the oars long enough? Are we exhausted enough? Are we weary enough of human activity that is bringing us nowhere? Can we instead, in brokenness, at His cross, seek His face, His Heart, and His Spirit, until it comes, filling our long dormant sails, and carrying us we know not where, but we know it will be His best, and we really are, in every way, born anew, born again.