A mighty wind and fire

There are few more dramatic pictures in the Bible than the coming of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts: A wild wind and tongues of fire!

I was re-reading the first few verses of Acts 2 this morning and tried to put myself in the shoes of the first believers as they sat in the upper room, waiting.  As Jesus had commanded, they had been praying for 40 days, waiting for the Holy Spirit.

I can imagine the sense of anticipation in that room.  They had seen the resurrected Jesus.  They believed that he who rose from the dead would deliver on his promise of the Spirit.

But even they must have been bowled over by this demonstration of godly power.

There are few more awesome things than a hurricane.  Very little can stand in the way of such mighty winds.

While the Spirit did not blow the upper room down, it sounded as if he did.  I can imagine the sound of this screeching and booming wind striking terror and awe in the hearts of the small band of followers.

Then, as a follow-up, tongues of fire – falling on people.

Even if they wanted to, they could not resist such power. The Spirit answered their prayers by filling and transforming them.  They were never the same again.

This picture enthralls me.  It shows me what God can do – if he wishes.

But God chooses not to act unless we pray.  The believers had been praying for 40 days.  They desired the Spirit; they were ready for him.

It shows me, too, that God could destroy us all – if he wished.  But he chooses not to eliminate us, undeserving as we are.

Instead, he pursues us, offering us love if we give our lives to him.  He pursues us with gentleness.  That is God’s preferred approach – love.

But we know that God can destroy – he has in the past and he still does today.  Sin is not compatible with righteousness and sometimes sinful man goes too far.

The Book of Revelation teaches us that God will eventually confront the forces of evil in a final war.

What amazes me is God’s patience.  He has the ultimate power, but he restrains himself out of love for us.

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