Last month adverse winds struck in the most unsuspecting place: Arizona. Tornadoes came out of nowhere in a place no one expects them to come. Tornadoes are whirlwinds, adverse winds. What is getting ready to happen in Arizona?
Several months ago the Lord spoke several things to me, not long paragraphs, just short phrases, to give me hints about the future. One phrase was "fresh winds," another was "movement," a third was "awakening and visitation."
I inquired of the Lord about the phrase, fresh winds. It seemed like all we were seeing were adverse winds. In Michigan we have had several wind advisories for gusts up to 75 mph. The day before Rosh Hashanah, the winds were so extreme in our area that they blew down power lines in the city of Detroit. These power lines hit homes or garages and, in at least five neighborhoods fires broke out. In all, 85 homes were destroyed.
I thought, What in the world was the Lord saying? These were not fresh winds. Fresh winds to me are soft breezes that are refreshing, cooling, gently blowing a sailboat along its course. These winds were violent, destructive and unrelenting as well as recurring. How was I to make sense out of this?
Suddenly I heard the Lord say, “The fresh winds are in the adverse winds. Don’t fear the adverse wind, but head into it.” I began to study winds in Scripture.
In Acts 27, an account of an adverse wind is reported. Paul had warned the centurion not to set sail but because there was a soft south wind, he set sail anyway. Shortly thereafter, “a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon” (v. 14). This is a destructive nor’easter wind. This wind thrust the ship aground, and it was destroyed. They ended up on Malta.
Throughout the journey, Paul kept his cool by seeking the Lord and His protection for the people. Despite the fact that Paul warned them not to go because this would happen, he did not get angry when they ignored him and the very thing he said would happen, happened. Instead he fasted and prayed for the men on the ship because he cared about them.
In fact the Lord said to him that not one of them would be lost. Paul encouraged the men with this word from the Lord. I wonder how many of us would have prayed for them like Paul after they disregarded his original warning. Not Paul—he hung in there and prayed them all the way through even after they disregarded the word of the Lord through him.
Paul’s stance throughout the journey got the centurion's attention, and he came to respect Paul greatly, so much so that he saved Paul’s life. The sailors were planning to kill all the prisoners. All of their lives were spared.
Now the story begins to intensify and drama breaks out. Having landed by shipwreck on Malta, they made a fire to warn themselves. A poisonous viper was in the wood and leaped out of the fire, biting Paul on the hand. Paul just calmly shook the viper off.
Those witnessing it were sure he was going to die. He didn’t. The reality that Paul lived convinced the residents of Malta that he was a god. Then Publius, the leading citizen of Malta, took Paul and the others into his estate to take care of them.
Publius' father was sick and dying. Paul prayed for him, then laid hands on him and healed him (see Acts 28:7). Paul did not look at the devastation of the situation. His eyes were on God. Though this was not God’s original plan for them, God never wastes a moment. So, through Paul, God began a healing movement starting with Publius' father. Others noted this, and all the sick were being brought to Paul (see Acts 28:9).
There were fresh winds within the adverse winds. The adverse winds brought destruction. But that destruction caused Paul and the others to land somewhere they never would have landed had it not been for that destructive storm. The fresh winds of the Holy Spirit blew in a healing movement on the isle of Malta.
We are in days of extremely adverse winds. It is within those winds that the fresh winds will begin to blow. They are the opportunities that will arise within the troubled area to release the power of the Holy Spirit in a whole new way. It was a healing movement that was released on Malta. It might be a salvation movement in some other place.
But the message in the story is, look for the possibilities. Don’t be thrown by the loss and devastation. God is going to break out in the most unlikely places and through the most difficult circumstances.
Job experienced a devastating wind that blew down the four corners of his house (see Job 1). He lost everything. It was a horrible experience, one that took time to recover from. Yet his latter days ended up greater than his former. God did not intend for him to remain devastated.
We are in a brand-new day. The enemy will try to overwhelm us with what isn’t happening or with what is going down the tubes. But look up! A movement is about to break out. An opportunity to touch hurting people with the gospel of the kingdom will present itself. Run to the devastated areas. They are setups for a fresh Holy Spirit breakout. They are setups for a latter house that is greater than the former.
Kingdoms are clashing; conflict is increasing. This will cause many to be deceived, lose hope, give up and check out. But here is the message in Acts 27 and 28: Don’t give up; hang on; believe God and pray through. He has not set you up to be destroyed. He is setting you up to be a deliverer—a deliverer of healing, salvation or something else. Paul did not let the adverse circumstances move his internal compass off course. He kept looking for the Holy Spirit breakthrough and breakout. He kept going in faith.
In the adverse winds are the fresh winds of the Holy Spirit. Sail on! There is a planned Holy Spirit movement within the storm.
About the author: Barbara J. Yoder is the founder and senior pastor of Shekinah Christian Church (shekinahchurch.org) in Ann Arbor, Mich., and is known for her apostolic and prophetic breakthrough ministry. She travels nationally and internationally ministering in churches, conferences and seminars. She is the author of several books, including Taking on Goliath. To order a copy of the book, click here. Visit her blog page at barbarayoderblog.com.