Genesis 1:2 (NIV)
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
In our home, we love the experience of listening to the wind blow through the pine trees. We have a few pines in our backyard that make a peaceful sound when the wind rushes through them. When I am stressed or struggling, I will walk out the back door, listen for that coniferous music, and talk to Jesus. If the wind is particularly strong that day, I will rush in the back door, voice raised, declaring “The wind in the pines is here! The wind in the pines is here!” I’m no Paul Revere, but I can usually get at least one person to come running.
There’s a wind, a breath, that blows from the very center of the universe into the seen and unseen world of creation. It is a wind that moves galaxies on their paths, sustains life on the planet, and whispers to us all from birth until death. It’s not a physical wind like the gentle breezes that stir the leaves of palm trees on the islands of the Pacific, or a metaphorical wind like the “wind of chance” that many people believe guides their destinies.
According to Genesis 1:2, that wind is the very breath, or in Hebrew, ruakh, of God. The ruakh, of God is the word we translate Spirit (in Greek, the word is pneuma, or wind). The ruakh of someone is the essence of their life, and God’s Spirit, the Creator’s living, active, dynamic presence, is in motion at the beginning of creation.
The Spirit of God is hovering over the waters of the great abyss—the desolation, the confusion, the emptiness. There is one word for those waters that captures all these themes in one package, and you and I are very familiar with it. That word is chaos. We’ve all known a little chaos in our lives, haven’t we? Maybe today is no exception.
And this is when things get real. The Holy Spirit is an Artist, and when hovering over chaos, emptiness, and desolation, God’s Spirit likes to move into the middle of the mess to make beautiful things, meaningful things, ordered things, out of the disorder.
The wind of the Spirit has been making a habit out of ordering chaos since the beginning of time—and is about that same business in your life and mine. When Jesus was awakened in the boat by the disciples, their emotions in turmoil because they feared a watery death, he spoke a word and calmed the chaotic sea. When Jesus confronted a gaggle of demons wreaking life-smothering havoc in a precious soul, he spoke a word into the chaos and brought the Father’s loving order to a grateful heart.
A verse comes to mind: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Lord, reveal to us what is “formless and empty” in our hearts so you can speak your word to it, your freeing, ordering word, awakening us to be the beautiful creations you intended us to be.
Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit. There are some mighty messes in my heart and mind today that could use some cleanup. Come, Holy Spirit. Breathe into each place of confusion and fear, and bring your loving order to my life.
How is the Holy Spirit at work in your heart, home, church, or city—bringing beauty out of chaos?
For the Awakening,