Our vegetable garden continues to be a living metaphor for me. Yesterday I went outside to see that half of the carrots I transplanted last week had broken at their base and were dying. There had been just a little bit of wind, but even that was too much for our young veggies.
After doing some reading I realized that their demise was due to a lack of being hardened off. This is a process where young plants are set outside for a few hours each day. Because they are grown in a nice warm, stable environment they have lacked the God-given resistance that makes their stalks/stems strong and able to bear the forthcoming weight of branches, leaves, and fruit.
I remember that this happened in the biosphere experiment of 1990's fame in Arizona. A dome with "ideal" conditions was erected and six or seven people were sent to live inside, with no supplies given from the outside world. When their first harvest of bananas and other fruits was half mature something terrible happened. The branches broke off and their food tumbled to the ground, not yet ripe enough to eat. Again, this was due to a lack of wind to strengthen the trees.
The writer to the Hebrews speaks about discipline from our heavenly Father that leads to an increase in the fruit of righteousness for each of us under his care. His discipline is not pictured as a raging father running toward us with a switch or a belt. Rather it is the compassionate ordering of circumstances in our lives that continually re-orient us and strengthen us in faith.
When I'm golfing I hate the wind. When I'm trying to play with a Frisbee I hate the wind. When I'm riding my bike I hate the wind. When I eat food, from now on, I'll be thankful for the wind. As I seek more and more to be conformed to the image of God, toward being truly human, I am increasingly thankful for the "wind" of God's sanctifying work in my life.