Volume 21 Issue 4
The inspiring story of Ernest Shackleton and his brave men aboard the Endurance is punctuated with amazing accounts of men trapped on the ice floes of the Antarctic who overcame trial after trial over a period of nearly two years, until finally all made it safely back to England, long after they were presumed dead. What intrigued me most about the story is one sailor’s reflection on what he considered the worst of all the hardships, the trial more difficult than the hunger, the cold, the exhausting tasks, the extreme trekking, the miraculous sailing in pounding sleet and blizzards.
All those things were, in his estimation, minor by comparison to wind-madness: the pain and fear of having to deal with the wind at all times. He writes: “We also suffer from ‘amenomania’ (literally-wind-madness, he wrote later.) “This disease may be exhibited in two forms: Either one is morbidly anxious about the wind direction and gibbers continually about it, or else a sort of lunacy is produced by listening to the other amenomaniacs. The second form is more trying to hear.
I have had both. “Every moment of every day, monitoring and responding properly to the wind conditions was a matter of life and death. The wind could never be ignored. The wind determined the destiny. The wind commanded the day. The sails were set in accordance to the wind. Progress was slowed or enhanced by the wind. The wind brought the cold. The wind brought the warmth. The wind mysteriously and with secret powers affected the presence of wild game and fish. The seals, whales, fish, and birds all were in some strange way in the grip of the wind. As they realized the reality of the wind’s power to set the schedule, to set the mood, and to literally determine the fate of every day, these brave adventurers became increasingly more aware of their powerlessness. And being forced to deal with the wind incessantly caused amenomania-wind-madness.
Wind-madness may be the spiritual condition of our day. Uncertainty rules. Lack of conviction waters down every effort. Political correctness governs expression. The winds of false doctrine are blowing off course even the most established and sacred principles of Christianity. Old doctrines dressed up as new ideas creep into our thinking. The Apostolic mandates are described as “old dusty truths” as if they need replacing. And “wind-madness” sets in when we feel we have to check the climate before we speak or to run a poll to determine what the masses will tolerate.
Wind-madness: a condition wherein the church, the preachers, and the members feel that they must be governed by the wind of popular opinion; when each day we set our sail according to the going thing, the in thing, the new thing. Acts 17:2 “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing. “When we live in fear of men’s rejection that is a form of wind-madness. When has the wisdom and philosophy of this world ever overridden the word of God? 1 Cor. 2:4 – “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. “Much comes to mind here, but space is limited. Suffice it to say we are not to be tossed to and fro but rather to be as “trees planted by the river of waters. “We should not tolerate wind-madness in ourselves or in others.
Be strong in the Lord. Be strong in your convictions. Scream at the winds of false doctrine, “I shall not be moved.” To quote Shackleton’s man, “I long for a place where the wind does not matter a tinker’s cuss.” Preach the word; these so-called new winds don’t matter. I’ve heard about universalism, but my faith still holds. I’ve heard about Mormonism, but my faith still holds. I’ve heard about astrology, but my faith still holds. I’ve heard about new manifestations, but my faith still holds. I’ve heard about ecumenism, but my faith still holds. We’ve got to quit starting to get stirred up. “I think this might preach!”Eph. 4:14 – “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”