On Walls and Shutdowns || Looking for Answers in the Wind

On Walls and Shutdowns || Looking for Answers in the Wind

January winds blew in with memories of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his call to unity and equality for all. He gave his life for that dream and that dream lives on.

In the last few weeks, winds have blown from Civil Rights to Walls to Shutdowns.  As leaders faced off in our government over the border wall, it has left “800,000 Federal employees without income for 35 days and facing another round in 3 weeks if answers aren’t found… (According to a Washington Post article*)

Of those 800,000 Federal employees, one is a young husband and father to 3 children–ages 7, 4 and 2.  As a devoted and passionate meteorologist, he stays at the helm at the National Weather Service office he’s been assigned.  He stays… partly because he loves his job but also because he’s passionate about keeping others safe by giving concise forecasts that enable others to have ample warning to take shelter in severe and threatening weather situations.

With their first home mortgage in a large city, utility bills, education and food costs, insurance and other living expenses — going without any income for 35 days can almost cripple any family living close to their financial border.  This one hits close to home.  This our son.  Not just a number for us.  He’s one of our own.

And a mama’s prayers become more urgent …more fervent in days like these.

Walking it out with Jesus in our local Botanical Gardens gave space to talk it out with my heavenly Father and share my burden as we walked and talked together.  You might think Jesus always speaks in Bible verses and hymns but on this day …on this walk …all I could hear were the lines from Bob Dylan’s song …

“The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind …the answer is blowin’ in the wind.”  Blowin’ in the Wind by Bob Dylan

Now let me tell you, I was honestly trying hard to be spiritually focused and listen for the wind of the Spirit, but y’all, these lyrics were all I heard.  And yes, God still has a way with words!

Whenever words or phrases or songs come to mind like that, I go into digging mode and search it out for what God may be trying to communicate.  And yes again …even through songs or phrases that may not seem “spiritual” to others–God still speaks!

Ironically, Dylan’s words, written in the early 1960’s, carry a strong beat right into the current anthem of today…

“…Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind…”

Songwriters: Bob Dylan

And what about these lines …

“…Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take ’til he knows
That too many people have died?…”

Songwriters: Bob Dylan

Many have offered their own interpretation to the words of this song but Dylan’s own words struck a chord with me when he offered, ”

There ain’t much I can say about this song, except the answer is blowin’ in the wind. It ain’t no book or movie or TV show or discussion group, man. It’s in the wind … I still say it’s in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper it’s got to come down some … But the only trouble is that no one picks up the answer when it comes down so not too many people get to see and know … and then it flies away.  (Dylan’s words in 1962 to Sing Out! magazine as quoted in genius.com )

And I got stuck on this line — “…and just like a restless piece of paper it’s got to come down some …But the only trouble is that no one picks up the answer when it comes down so not too many people get to see and know …”

“A restless piece of paper” blowin’ in the wind …

And all I can see is the Bible laid open for all to see with its thin pages blowing in the wind and the Spirit saying– come …read this … there are answers here! Who will pick up the pages and not only “see” the words written but “know” them down deep in your heart and truly live them out.  Words like these from Matthew 22 …

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  (Matthew 22:34-40 NIV)

Turns out everything  hangs on these two simple, yet powerful statements that have been blowing through history for thousands of years.

And what about those pages flying open to these phrases that tell us we’re blessed if we’re humble, peacemakers, hungering and thirsting for God’s righteousness, not arrogant …

“Blessed are …

the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant]…

those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted].

the gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth.

those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.

“Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

…the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God.

“Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.

“Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love] are those who are persecuted for doing that which is morally right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].

(from Matthew 5 (The Beatitudes, AMP)

And I’d love to tell you the wind blew in like a hurricane with notes that resolved the final chord of the song giving all the answers we need to fix all the problems of today …but I can’t.  What I can say is this …

What if we all picked up the pages of the Bible and really looked at them …really read them …really took the words to heart …and really lived them out?  Could it be that this would bring answers needed in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our churches, in our local cities and towns and organizations?

My words seem weak here.  I desperately want to wrap all this up in a nice package and give you the right answer but here’s the deal –the wind of the Spirit has a way of blowing into spaces that nothing else can reach and with that, I believe answers will come and we will find ourselves changed in the process.

So here’s my challenge, take on the words of Jesus as quoted in Matthew’s gospel.  One day.  One truth.  See it.  Read it.  Know it.  Live it.  One truth lived out to bless at least one person a day.  One to One.

And let us know how it’s going.  I’d love to see the winds change for the good of all.

Article Credit:

*”Trump Signs Bill to Open the Government, Ending the Longest Shutdown in History”  By Erica Werner Mike DeBonis John Wagner  (January 25 at 9:59 PM)  —The Washington Post

NPR article:  “Blowin’ in the Wind Still Asks the Hard Questions,”  October 21, 2000 by Brian Naylor

“Blowin’ in the Wind” lyrics by Bob Dylan ( genius.com )

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

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  1. mariegriffith

    Joy, God speaks to me through all kinds of music, literature and movies….from some of the most unexpected ones. Thank you for reminding us of it and for pointing us back to what we’re supposed to be all about: loving God and loving others.

    Much love.

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      We keep looking and trying to really hear and see what God has for us, right! <3 you!

  2. Roger Martin

    It is neat how God uses different things to speak to us…and as you mentioned, they aren’t always “religious” things. God has often spoken to me through a movie or TV show, for example. I like what you said about digging for more information when God brings something to mind. That’s a great “best practice” with insight from God.

    1. Well, you’ve always had the gift of word pictures and being able to communicate a thought better through those. Keep digging and sharing those pictures. Gotta love your word, “best practice” .. another good analogy that will definitely connect with many. Thanks Rog!❤

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