Meteorologists have developed finely-tuned instruments and computers to measure natural forces that help them predict the weather. But 2000 years ago weather was a bit of a mystery. No one could pin down the wind. You couldn’t find its starting point or know when it would shift direction. It was always doing something unexpected. And so Our Lord used this natural phenomenon to illustrate how surprising life is when you try to follow the Spirit.
On the face of it, the Holy Spirit’s work doesn’t always seem to follow human logic. And that shouldn’t surprise us; earthly things are not like heavenly things. Earthly expectations don’t always predict or reflect heavenly realities. So being “born from above” is not just a patched-up earthly existence. It’s not a predictable progression towards a nobler version of the human self. Rather it’s a bracing gust of wind from a God who loves to challenge assumptions and turn things upside down.
Nicodemus came to Jesus looking for clarity, for a better understanding of what Our Lord was teaching. But Jesus didn’t just take him one step further in his faith; he turned his whole world upside down. He told Nicodemus that he had to be “born from above” if he wanted to fully understand him. Nicodemus needed to embrace a whole new way of living, a way guided by the sometimes gusty wind of the Spirit.
God may be unpredictable and yet he is completely trustworthy. Whether the wind of his Spirit blows hard or gently, he will always respond to our faith with more grace and a deeper relationship with him. So we should let the mistakes of the past and the lessons learned from them strengthen our faith both now and in the future.