The Wind Blows

Coal Clough Windfarm at Cliviger, Burnley, is one of my favourite places. It is one of the oldest sites in the country, dating back to 1992, and was briefly one of the largest. The turbines power 5-6000 homes each year and are operated by Scottish Power. Though they are bright white and stand out against the moorland, I consider them rather majestic. These fine ladies stand 70 metres tall and I felt the need to duck when their huge rotary blades spun down in my direction. Great to look at but useful, too: windfarms account for over 15% of our national electricity. On 16 August, last year, they provided a whopping 60% of our electricity on that day. Whereas our solar potential is somewhat limited on account of our grey and foggy skies, 40% of Europe’s winds pass over the UK. Walking beneath those white blades and hearing the low hum of their activity was a pleasant experience; we were powering our nation without burning things up or importing resources from wealthy Arabs or Russian oligarchs.  

Yet how many times do we see wind turbines not operating, idly watching the local countryside with lazy eye? If the wind is too feeble, they will not move; if too strong, they must be turned off to avoid damage. They must be regularly maintained and fixed, for anything we make is liable to break.

The Lord explains to Nicodemus in John chapter 3:

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Operators of windfarms know full well that the wind comes and goes where it will. We Christians know that if the Holy Spirit does not a move someone to repent, repent he won’t. If the Holy Spirit does not sanctify, unsanctified we remain. If the Holy Spirit does not keep us, lost we shall be. Power companies must have other sources of energy available to them. Nuclear, gas, coal, and solar must be accessible for those still, windless days. We believers, in contrast, need rely on no other power but God’s Spirit, yet too many times we seek other sources of comfort, strength and hope. Paul tells the Ephesians

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit (5:18).

The imagery here has moved from powerful wind to powerful drink; whereas fools are drunk with alcohol, the wise believer is to be full of the Holy Spirit. So filled, we have no room left for anything else. In such a state, I cannot rely on my self-confidence, my skill, my charm, my cash, my ambition. A massive, eighty-metre wind turbine is an impressive sight, not easily forgotten. A five-foot Christian filled with the Holy Spirit is even more powerful and serviceable to God- which is more impressive still.