How did that happen?

“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from or where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:7-8 NKJV).

I count myself among those who marvel at how or why things happen the way they do. We live in a tremendously advanced age with regard to technology and scientific accomplishment. In my lifetime we have broken the sound barrier, put human beings in outer space, walked on the surface of the moon, and sent craft into the farther reaches of our solar system. And that does not begin to list the many advances in personal comfort, medical knowledge, and thousands of other important developments.

As I visit the swamps of Bangladesh and the mountains of Nepal I am amazed at how roads and power grids have spread into some of the remotest places on earth. Villages that were almost unreachable two or three decades ago can be driven to today, although I will admit that the roads are more than a little bit challenging. Bridges have connected regions of Bangladesh which used to require many hours of detour to travel between. Some of that infrastructure is simply a matter of time and money, but some projects required difficult feats of engineering and invention.

The most difficult feat accomplished on earth however is not one solved by technological skill or human intellect. It is the miracle of spiritual regeneration and re-creation accomplished by the grace of God and the blood of Jesus.

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew
. . . . But as it is written, ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him’” (1 Corinthians 2:7-9).

This passage is sometimes applied to Heaven and the unimaginable pleasures of eternal life. While it is true that human minds cannot imagine the reality of that spiritual paradise, that is not the meaning of Paul’s words in their original context. That which people could not invent was God’s plan to redeem mankind from his sinfulness. No human mind could devise a method to reconcile God’s justice and his love. Only God’s wisdom was sufficient to provide the effective method of salvation, and only God had the resource (his one unique son) necessary for its accomplishment.

As we proclaim the message of salvation to those who are lost we are often confronted with the extreme difficulty of conversion and forgiveness. People can get themselves into horrible entanglements with sin. These include, naming only a few, multiple marriages and sexual affairs, addictions, criminal activity, and every kind of negative emotion and attitude from hatred to envy to extreme greed. How does even God enable us to change from such evil to become his faithful and loving children?

Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). When Nicodemus asked how that could be possible Jesus compared the process to the invisible wind, which one may hear and feel, but which we cannot see or explain. Why does it blow at some times and not others? What causes the breeze to begin, or to end? Perhaps the meteorologist may understand the process, but most of us simply recognize wind when we hear it or feel it.

So it is with God’s power to forgive and change us. It may seem impossible to us, but “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Addictions can be overcome. Tangled affairs can be straightened. Horrible guilt can be forgiven. God’s spirit enables us through knowledge of his loving will to encounter our past and overcome it. We can be born again.

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