Several years ago, my husband and I went with a group for a
three-day hike on the Appalachian Trail near the Grayson Highlands
in Virginia. It is an area with stunning views of mountain ridges and
meadows, a place where wild ponies roam free.
The weather had not been the best as we set out, cloudy and
misty. But we made camp that first night at a high elevation, on a
level stretch near the edge of the mountain that overlooks the valley
below, optimistically imagining the amazing sunrise that would greet
us the next morning.
With spotty cell phone service, we were unaware that the forecast
for the night had deteriorated. There was a high wind advisory and
storms coming through the area, which we discovered some time
For what seemed like hours, storm winds howled as they came up
the mountainside and barreled over the top of our campsite. Winds
flattened our tents across the top of the sleeping bags in which we
were curled, only to pull them upright when the winds receded again.
With the regularity of contractions, we endured a relentless pattern
of surge and retreat every few minutes in the dark of night.
There was unmistakable power in the force of the wind, and we
knew we were at its mercy. I don’t know how many times I prayed the
Lord’s Prayer that night, trying to counter the force of the storm with
a holy rhythm of my own.
The Spirit does not come quietly when the disciples gather for Pentecost. Rather, from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting (v. 2). The Spirit comes decisively, with power.
What is your experience of the movement of God’s Spirit in your life? When have you known both its gentleness and its power?
Holy God, may we never underestimate the power of your Spirit in our lives. Amen.