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Oct 31

Weathering the Storm

As we have all seen in recent days, the news has been filled with stories and updates about Hurricane Sandy. The “Superstorm”, as it was called. It was immense, I think here in Brisbane we don’t really perceive the magnitude of such a storm because we just don’t get them (although we may feel the far-off effects of them sometimes). To give you some idea, Hurricane Sandy was roughly the width of the distance between Brisbane and Melbourne. Imagine complaining about the same storm as our AMYC friends in Melbourne and Sydney?

hurricane_sandy

To compare, Cyclone Yasi, one of the worst cyclones to affect Australia, was about a third of the width. FYI, before you get confused with the terminology (I had to look it up myself), cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons are all the same thing, but just named differently based on location. The winds of Hurricane Sandy reached speeds of around 150 km/h at landfall in New York, so if you can imagine being a pedestrian on a highway, the wind was going even faster than the cars would be. Suffice to say, you don’t want to get hit by anything.

As we have seen from the aftermath pictures, storms cause all kinds of damage and often the aftermath looks like sheer chaos and carnage. The Bible says many interesting things about storms, however I want to look at it from a more personal perspective: the storms that we face in our lives.

In these types of circumstances, I often find myself quoting my favourite, if somewhat pessimistic, OT book – for in Ecclesiastes 3:1 it says “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”. It goes on to list a lot of things that there is a time for, if you want to look it up. As it says, we often go through different “seasons” in life, sometimes things are smooth and the water is calm. We sail along effortlessly. Other times, the water can be calm, but there is absolutely no wind to power us along – in other words, we might feel terribly unmotivated or just lazy. Yet other times, there is a terrible storm, we are running for cover, we are tipping from side-to-side and we struggle to stay on our feet.

Storms come in the form of many things – probably the most common experience are of academic “storms”, however, I would not routinely call exams a storm, because sometimes, you just need to harden up and do some work! Other times, exams could certainly be a storm, say when you have 4 or 5 exams in a row without a break in-between. Of course, there are many other more impacting storms you may experience – such as short or prolonged storms over a personal conflict, in relation to your family or a friend or it could also be due to a severe illness.

Storms may often roll into our lives and cause various kinds of “damage”, but the good news is, if we have a solid foundation, we can survive it! As it says in Luke 6:46-49, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

So if we continue to do as God has taught us and follow his wisdom and not our own understanding, we can indeed weather the storms of life. While storms may cause various kinds of damage to us, we should remember that God is always there with us, and no matter what happens to us, for those who believe in Christ, we have already been saved from the worst storm of all. We should strive to have an attitude like Paul, taken from Philippians 4:12-13, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength“.

There aren’t too many better images of God’s grace than a person treading water being rescued by an outstretched hand!

-Tim Fong