Nothing was so feared by seamen in the days when ocean vessels were driven by wind and sail as the doldrums. The doldrums occur in a part of the ocean near the equator where the weather can turn to absolute calm, leaving a vessel stranded to starvation and death.
The Lord Jesus Christ created the equatorial region of our planet with unique qualities in this regard. The sun’s heat, the laws of heat transfer, and the shape and rotation of the Earth are the chief causes of the winds prevailing or receding in the region. Generally speaking, wind is caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun. Near the equator, heated air rises to about 60,000 feet, sometimes creating violent storms. When there is no prevailing wind near the equator, the air rises vertically instead of moving horizontally across the earth, thus creating the doldrums.
The word “doldrums” has its etymological roots in Middle English, originally having the idea of being dull.
Interestingly, the Bible portrays the wind as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord used the illustration of the blowing of the wind as emblematic of the Spirit’s ministry in John 3. Thus it is both Biblically and geographically correct to say that when the wind does not blow, we are in great difficulty.
• When we do not have a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s conviction because of hardness of heart, we will stay too long in the doldrums of sin.
• When we hinder the working of the Holy Spirit in our evangelism by grieving Him or not depending upon Him, conversions will be absent.
• When we do not seek the illumination of the Holy Spirit in our minds and hearts as we minister the Word, we become shallow in our understanding and presentation of the Scriptures
How important it is that those of us who know Jesus Christ, and thus have the Holy Spirit living in our lives, allow Him to use His Word to breathe fresh power into our lives and ministries.
Written by Dr. Bud Steadman, Executive Director of Baptist World Mission