“I Feel the Wind of God Today”


“Launch out into the deep” (Lk. 5:4)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which encourages us to launch out into the deep in our journey on the seas of life is “I Feel the Wind of God Today.”  The text was written by Jessie Adams, who was born on Sept. 9, 1863, at Ipswich in Suffolk, England.  A member of the Society of Friends or Quakers, Adams was a progressive teacher and leader of a local adult school in Frimley, England. Since she preferred to remain anonymous, little else is known about her.  The hymn was apparently produced in 1906 and published in 1907, and she died on July 15, 1954, at York, England.  The only time that I have ever seen this hymn published in a book, it was the 1974 Hymns for the Living Church edited by Donald Hustad for Hope Publishing Co.  The tune (Kingsfold) used there is a traditional English melody in a minor key. 

     Another traditional English melody (Forest Green) that fits well with the hymn was arranged by Ralph (pronounced “rafe”) Vaughan Williams (1872-1958).  The son of a minister in Down Ampney, he was educated at Charterhouse School, and then attended the Royal College of Music in London, Trinity College, and Cambridge, where he received a B.M. in 1894, a B.A. in 1895 and Mus D. in 1901.  Vaughn Williams studied English folk songs, going into the countryside to collect and notate them. Fascinated by the beauty of the music and the history in the lives of ordinary people, he included folk songs in his compositions. The English Hymnal of 1906, for which he served as music editor, incorporated arrangements of 35 folk songs, such as this one, along with other tunes that he composed.  

     Vaughn Williams is credited with nine symphonies, five operas, other orchestral music, film music, ballet and stage music, church music, song cycles, and works for chorus and orchestra.  Other collections he collaborated on were Songs of Praise (1925), Oxford Book of Carols (1928), and Songs of Praise for Little Children (1933). This tune, which was named for the village in Surrey, England, where Vaughan Williams first heard this folk song, was used with Isaac Watts’s “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” in Hymns for the Living Church, and has also been used with “All Beautiful the March of Days,” “Come, Let Us Join Our Friends Above,” “O God of Love, Grant Us Your Peace,” “O Lord of Life,” “O Spirit of the Living God,” and most recently, a 1986 paraphrase of Psalm 18 by Fred R. Anderson entitled “I Love You Lord, My Strength, My Rock.”

     “I Feel the Wind of God Today” exhorts us to look to God as we sail the sea of life.

I. Stanza 1 says that the wind of God brings us hope

“I feel the wind of God today; Today my sail I lift,

Though heavy, oft with drenching spray, And torn with many a rift;

If hope but light the water’s crest, And Christ my bark will use,

I’ll seek the seas at His behest, And brave another cruise.”

 A. Our sails are often drenched and torn by the storms of life, just as the apostles were battered by the storm on Galilee: Matt. 8:23-27

 B. However, just as Jesus stilled the tempest, so He offers us hope that will both lighten the water’s crest and anchor us: Heb. 6:18-20

 C. This hope gives us the courage to seek the seas and brave another cruise as we “press on toward the goal”: Phil. 3:13-14

II. Stanza 2 says that the wind of God brings us comfort

“It is the wind of God that dries My vain regretful tears,

Until with braver thoughts shall rise The purer, brighter years;

If cast on shores of selfish ease Or pleasure I should be;

Lord, let me feel Thy freshening breeze, And I’ll put back to sea.”

 A. There are many things in life which cause us to mourn, but the wind of God dries our tears by bringing us comfort: Matt. 5:4

 B. Sometimes we’re tempted by the selfish cares, riches, and pleasures of this life to give up our journey: Lk. 8:14

 C. However, the Lord’s freshening breeze can motivate us to put back to sea and run with patience the race that is set before us: Heb. 12:1-2

III. Stanza 3 says that the wind of God brings us His love

“If ever I forget Thy love and how That love was shown,

Lift high the blood red flag above; It bears Thy Name alone.

Great Pilot of my onward way, Thou wilt not let me drift;

I feel the wind of God today, Today my sail I lift.”

 A. We need to remember the great love that God has shown to us: Jn. 3:16

 B. We especially need to remember how that love was shown through the blood of Christ: Matt. 26:28

 C. Thus, Christ is the Great Pilot of our onward way who will help us not to drift as we give heed to the things that we have heard: Heb. 2:1-4

     CONCL.:  This hymn obviously draws its thoughts from the language of those who sail the physical seas of this life and would be especially meaningful to those who were familiar with boats and the ocean.  However, the comparison is easily understood by anyone and figuratively applies to our spiritual lives.  As I make my journey from this world to heaven, I can and should be truly thankful for those times when I can say, “I Feel the Wind of God Today.”


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