Of Chastisements, Fear, and the Gentle Winds of the Holy Spirit
By Carol Marquardt
The thought of chastisements scares me! I live in Florida where hurricanes have blown through doing much damage and more hurricanes are forecast to be headed our way.
So far, my own personal suffering has been spending $1,500 for clean up from wind damage and enduring days of no power, therefore no refrigeration or air conditioning, in very hot sticky weather.
I suppose that enduring these smaller effects of hurricanes is spiritually enriching because it unites me to some degree with the large numbers of people in others parts of the world who suffer much more from hunger and unpleasant conditions on a daily basis than I as an American. Still, I do not like chastisements, particularly the awareness that one might destroy my lifestyle or even my life!
When I speak to the Lord in prayer about this, He seems to tell me (through my thoughts inspired by the Holy Spirit): “As you see weather patterns causing disasters before your eyes, it is important to recognize how to respond. These chastisements have not been allowed to occur because of people who honor God but rather because of those who are ignorant of God and his purposes in creating human beings. Out of ignorance, people do evil things. Unbelief leads to ignorance. Evil leads to chastisements as your God tries to lead people to the awareness that He exists and is more powerful than human beings.
"Evil done out of ignorance, though one’s soul may be innocent, nevertheless causes consequences. If a small child finds a loaded gun in his house and, thinking it a toy, shoots and kills his sister, his life will be forever changed, despite his innocence.”
After pondering these words, I thought to myself that it was the parents who were morally at fault for allowing a loaded gun to be in a place where a child could find it. Is that a little like us who know better than to disobey God’s commandments but do not do all we can to inform or influence others?
So I asked the Lord in prayer, “What can we do now, Lord, those of us who believe? How can we somehow influence the possibility of future chastisements that may be forthcoming because of the evils of the present age?”
Again I felt the Lord respond through the Holy Spirit in my thoughts. “To the extent that grace filled believers act with the Holy Spirit power given them, the answer is, ‘Yes, you can influence the future.’ The powers given you are prayer, fasting, evangelizing and witnessing to the absolute power of a good and loving God. Demonstrate in your own life faithfulness to what God requires and then lovingly reach out to others. Stand up for the truth of the human condition: weakness and destructive self-centeredness without God’s grace. Live in joyful abandonment to God’s will which is the redemption of all from sin; and grace-filled living in union with a holy God.”
I recall that these words reflect one of the messages of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje where she has told the visionaries that through prayer and fasting, we can avert wars and natural disasters. This gives me hope. And I realize that I, and each of us, can only do what we each can do; then trust God, and leave the rest to Him.
Dear Lord, have mercy! May the fierce winds of hurricanes be replaced by the gentle winds of Spirit blowing faith and love of God into all people’s hearts!
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[Carol Marquardt is author of The Sound of His Voice]