When the Storms Hit
Everyone named Sandy must have felt insulted when their name was associated with one of the most brutal storms ever to hit the northeast. Hurricane Sandy sent water surging over break walls, flooding subway tunnels, and wreaking havoc wherever water rushed in, killing more than forty people in New York City alone. Super storms like Sandy remind us of the terrible power of the raging sea.
Sometimes our own lives are threatened by monster storms, by overwhelming problems that threaten to drag us down. If we are not in the midst of a storm, we know of others who are. Your list of people might be as long as mine. Here’s a small sample—I’m praying for a man who’s been crushed by a business failure, someone battling brain cancer, a couple in the midst of a bitter divorce, a mother who suffers from dementia, a child with a mental illness. When life is intractably hard, it helps to recall the immensity of God, to remember that it is when we are weakest that God can show himself strongest.
“Remember,” Paul told the Corinthians, “that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) For many of us, our worst temptation is to doubt God—we find it difficult to trust in his love and count on his mercy. But trust we must, reminding ourselves that nothing is impossible for a God of infinite greatness.
Your problems, however large they loom, are not too big for God to handle. Even if the things you fear come to pass, God will be with you, holding you up and keeping you safe so that with Paul you will say,
“I am convinced that nothing can ever separate me from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither my fears for today nor my worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate me from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate me from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”1 Amen.
1. Adapted from Romans 8:38-39.