Momentum

The wind blows on the cliffs of Chavayan (Photo credit: Patty Lazatin)
The wind blows on the cliffs of Chavayan (Photo credit: Patty Lazatin)

 

momentum /məˈmɛntəm/

noun. def. the impetus and driving force gained by the development of a process or course of events.
music. From Jamie Cullum’s latest album, that one song which speaks to me the most.

“Will you confess
When it lived inside all of your progress
Used to help you keep going and think less
Used to keep you from slowing to stop”

It will be difficult to put into exacting words how or why it has come to be, this point in my life of 31 years. Saturday morning on my bike—it all comes so naturally now, but it took a lot to get here. And by no achievement of my own, but all God’s doing. As I ask my questions on sharp turns and slowly get some answers as the scenery unfolds, there remain the unmistakable peace and joy. No longer just platitudes that exist to fuel a pseudo-inspirational high, but a reality like I’ve never experience before.

“Like a warm breeze
All the power you had in your twenties
And you gave everything that you’ve got”

I look forward to more days filled with the hum of joyful busy-ness. From realizing childhood dreams, writing in my journal, reviving a blog, singing more regularly, to getting into a more active lifestyle. That simple act of rising to early mornings, satisfying a craving for the outdoors, and now stepping into a boat, getting out in the water and taking hold of a dragonboat paddle—all a far cry from yester-years.

“And underneath the engine starts to turn
I feel it coming now
I feel it coming now
It’s a familiar sound”

If I had been asked before about sustenance and motivation, I would credit human will, determination, and oh yes of course, God. But now I’d like to believe it’s all about Him and His Love. It is all that matters. And the Spirit moves in wondrous ways. It is all too familiar, the feeling of something new, something beautiful coming, but altogether different.

“So as our new creation learns to walk
Beautiful cycles blowing back and forth”

Bishan Park, I find, is no easy ride for a beginner. One navigates obstacles in joggers, dog-walkers, children, not to mention winding turns and cobbled pavements. Kallang River is another story, but suffice to say, a newbie keeping up with a boat of more seasoned paddlers is a thrilling, if not painful challenge. This is precisely how He leads us on new and narrow paths, where it doesn’t get any easier by the world’s standards, but by His Spirit and Grace we walk onward anyway.


“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)


I know that I will still have my questions, as I remain His work-in-progress. I will neither claim to find, nor do I aspire to have all the answers, but when His Spirit works, there is no questioning its effects.

As John Piper** most eloquently expands on this verse, let me just quote from him directly—

“The main effect of the wind—the Spirit—is that we are made alive spiritually, and now our wills move. They move to receive Christ and believe on Christ. But our wills move because the wind is blowing, not the other way around. We don’t move first. Our wills are awakened and moved toward Christ because the Spirit blows where he wills and gives life to whom he wills.”

He ends by saying: (When you hear Jesus say) “The Spirit blows where it wills,” don’t hear Him taking from you the will that you treasure, but hear Him giving you eyes to see Christ as your treasure.

Yes, God has already made that first move. Do you and I keep the momentum going? Or do we halt and reject Him in timid fear of the unknown, or perhaps in pride that refuses to lose control?

“I think about it everywhere I go
Feel more acutely things I used to know
I feel it coming now
I feel it coming now
It’s a familiar sound
Can you feel, can you feel, can you feel
The momentum”

Lord, I have many times relied on human ways and head knowledge of You, rather than letting Your wind wake my spirit where it wills. May my faith then continue to grow in the passing seasons.

For You are everywhere to me, in all times, in all things. You are in the air rushing past me as I speed down Bishan’s lanes. You are in the water that carries our boat afloat Kallang River.

You are in all the motions. The river flows, the wind blows.

You are God in the biggest to the smallest details.

This momentum is no force on an earthly realm. The momentum, the drive, the wind that blows—It is You, Lord.

* * *

*Ever since I heard Jesse/Ethan Hawke (from the film “Before Sunset”) mull on this idea for a novel that happens within the space of I song, I’ve always wanted to try and juxtapose my writing into someone’s lyrics. What better way to do this than to capitalize on my lingering Jamie Cullum high from Java Jazz and yet another serendipitous verse from a recent sharing we had at Life Group just before my birthday, which then promptly re-appeared as the 13th of March devotional. Right that moment, I knew this was the song, and this was the story.

**For further reading on the verse, here’s something from John Piper, a beautiful and profound read when you have the time to set aside and digest in its entirety.