Saturday, January 30, 2016

#StormGertrude and Safety

The current trend of naming storms really amuses me. So far this winter we’ve been hit by Storms Abigail, Barney, Desmond, Eva and Frank. Now Gertrude is here. Storm Desmond landed in the UK in early December and will likely go down as one of the most devastating storms to ever hit the North West, with its effects still being felt long after the winds had subsided. Now it is the turn of Storm Gertrude, bringing - at the time of writing - at least one red weather warning and leaving thousands without power across Scotland and Ireland.

In 2015 the Met Office and its Irish counterpart Met Eireann launched a project to name severe winter storms, much in the same way that hurricanes are named. The official statement said “Working together it is hoped that naming winter storms will help raise public awareness of severe weather and ensure greater public safety”. Storms are never good news! They devastate and damage: you never expect to come out the other side of a storm in better condition than you entered it. 

The bible uses the imagery of a storm to explain various ideas. In Job 21:17,18 the picture of a storm is used to explain how severely God views wickedness and evil. It says ‘God distributes sorrows in his anger. They (the wicked) are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carries away’. Wickedness in the bible covers a spectrum of behaviour all of which actively disagrees with what God, in his Word, says is right.

Most of us face storms in life from time to time. These are hard and tough experiences. God, is keenly interested and indeed involved in the storms we face even if we are not aware of his presence. Once when Jesus’ disciples faced a weather storm they discovered Jesus sleeping in the boat - he was not frightened as he faced the trauma’s of life! They shouted at Jesus  - do you not care that we perish? Little did they realise he how deeply he was interested! That day he rose from sleep and did what the impossible - he calmed the storm. Jesus still does that in individual lives today. That is if we ask!

As I close let me point you to two beautiful passages of scripture. In Isaiah 25:4 God states, among other things, that he is ‘a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat’. Again in the same book, Isaiah 32:2 we are told ‘a man shall be a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest’.The truth is that ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ and on this basis he is the one who can protect us in the storms of this life and from the storm of God’s judgement in the next life. 

The question is will we take advantage of his protection?

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