Dust Devil

Ragged pieces of dry, chopped corn leaves swirled in a dust devil’s tight embrace at the edge of the paved road, but this dust devil carried no dust. The only evidence of the turbulent wind was the debris it had picked up in the newly combined corn field.

Perhaps you’ve never seen what those of us from the Midwest call a “dust devil.” Imagine a tiny tornado on a warm, sunny day.

The whirlwind I saw was maybe a yard across and only fifteen or so feet high (less than a meter across by five meters tall). Since it was swirling over the grassy ditch, only the lightweight harvest debris was captured by the dust devil. Without it I wouldn’t have known that the air was rapidly rotating.

*          *          *          *          *


You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”   John 3:7,8   MSG

Here on the plains we hear the wind rustling through grass, and we watch it rippling like waves over green fields. We see the wind turning the blades of windmills that are relics of the homesteaders’ water pumps as well as the modern-day giants that are generating electricity.


*          *          *          *          *

I have been attending a series of courses on creativity, and on the day I saw the dust devil the speaker had explored the topic “Inspiration” and shared his personal journey with creativity. This is a community course, not church-sponsored, so I wasn’t surprised that neither the speaker or audience mentioned a Creator as a source of creativity or the work of the Spirit in inspiration.


As a believer, however, I am convinced that the Spirit exists. Although I do not see the Spirit (or the wind), I see its effects in nature, in my life, and in the lives of others.

But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being.   Romans 1:19,20   MSG


Our English word “inspire” comes from a Latin word inspirare, which means to “inflame or blow into.” The root word for “inspire” is the same as the one for “spirit.”

The Hebrew word ruach (from the Old Testament) means breath, wind, or spirit. In medical usage “inspire” means “to draw in breath or inhale.”

So we breathe in the invisible breath of God, and it brings us life. It inspires us. It changes us.


We see the world in new ways. The product of the invisible Spirit’s presence in our lives may be in echoing God’s creativity. He is pleased to share that part of His character with us. 


Despite the dust devil’s regrettable name, the little whirlwind has taught me a lesson about

  • looking for the visible signs of an invisible Spirit and
  • the source of and inspiration for God’s creative work in my life and my creative response.

DSC_4351 (2)

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.   John 3:8   NIV

Posted on October 9, 2015, in Devotional and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Thank you for articulating power and mystery of the creative force of the Holy Spirit in our lives! Seated next to you in the class on creativity, I had similar thoughts. But it only makes sense that a secular world view would perceive the only purpose of man’s creative mind to be the survival of the species, a necessary tool in the evolutionary process. I much prefer the idea of the Master Creator gifting us with a new thought now and then, a new idea, a dream, a flash of insight, and then we have the pleasure of living our lives in grateful response to His gifts!

  2. What a lovely collection of photos, the vibrant sky backdrop to the wind turbine. The wind here can be fierce during storms and when it blows and rattles the house, it is next to impossible to ignore. And I envision the power of Almighty God. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post!

  3. Janis@Heart-Filled Moments

    Beautiful photography to illustrate an inspirational message. I was next to you at Weekend Whispers.

  4. I absolutely LOVE that last photo of yours. The clouds were stronger and it was a heart-grabber for me. Thank you much!

  5. Beautiful post! It was inspiring to read! And this is so true, “We see the world in new ways. The product of the invisible Spirit’s presence in our lives may be in echoing God’s creativity. He is pleased to share that part of His character with us.” I’m so thankful for the presence of the Spirit within me. Blessings to you, Constance!

  6. So refreshing to read that pairing of creativity with the truth of Romans 1! Blessings to you on the plains! Our family headed west (from Maine) five years ago, and I still have the images of dust devils in my mind along with all those acres of flat land! Beautiful!

  7. In preparing to preach next Sunday, I’m needing the Spirit’s inspiration. Thank you for reminding me to look for it in the not-so-obvious places.

    • Thanks, Kelly. I certainly depend on the Spirit’s spark in my brain to come up with ideas for the blog every week. (The duds are all me, though. Or maybe I just don’t see who the topic and scripture of the week ministered to?)
      Praying your mind, heart, and sermon is full of the breath of God and that the Spirit quickens your words, inspiring your listeners.

Leave a Reply to Joanne Norton Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: