Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Storms of Life

Have you ever survived a serious storm? I don't mean a thunderstorm, I mean a storm that you think is about to take the roof off of your house. I'm talking about the storms that make you glad you have a basement or like us in the south the - I wish I had a basement - storm! I ask this because as I write this blog, Hurricane Irene is headed towards South Carolina. (For those of you who do not know anything about me, I live in a small town in South Carolina, Florence, which is about 60 miles from the coast.)

Any time I hear that a hurricane is moving up the east coast it reminds me of Hurricane Hugo in September 1989. This was a serious storm. At the time I was 22 years old, living at home and about to graduate from college. My family and I were gathered around the TV watching the weather reports as they tracked the storm. As we watched the television we could not help but hear the wind howling outside, we could see the trees beginning to sway back and forth and the rain seemed to be pounding more on our windows than on our roof!

As the night wore on we could hear the wind blowing harder and although it was too dark to see much of what was going on we could hear it. We could hear the tops of trees being snapped off, we could hear entire trees being uprooted and landing all around our house. The power had gone out so we waited in the dark for the storm to end. No one wanted to go to bed for fear that a tree might fall on the house in the middle of the night. Needless to say, we were scared!

The next morning the storm was gone. The sky was as blue as you will ever see it. But the neighborhood looked like a hurricane blew through it...well actually a hurricane did blow through it! There were trees and debris everywhere. The roads were blocked by trees, trash cans, parts of roofs and who knows what else, the power lines were down, and we were cut off from civilization.

As I thought about this I thought about a familiar passage of scripture:
Matthew 7: 24-27 - 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
The interesting thing about this passage is that both the wise and the foolish builder had to face the storm. Both builders houses were besieged by the storm. The wise builder did not avoid the storm, he survived it but he did not avoid it. Just like when Hurricane Hugo blew through my town it did not avoid the well-to-do neighborhoods, it did not avoid the Christians homes or the churches. Everyone was battered by the storm. However, some houses fared better than others. Some homes had very little damage and some were completely destroyed.

The storms of life are coming and everyone will be affected. The winds and rains will assail each and every one of us. James assures us of that!
James 1: 2-4 - 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
What are you doing to prepare? Matthew 7 is clear, if we are to survive the storms of life we must hear the words of Christ, we must spend time in the Word of God. We must live out our faith. Faith in action produces stability in life. Faith in action builds a foundation that will survive whatever storm life throws at you. You may be beaten down and feel like there is no way to clean up the mess the storm left behind but God is faithful and will see you through.

WEATHER UPDATE: Storms are headed our way...are you ready?

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