In satellite images they seem almost solid, like you could hop down onto the swirl of clouds and bounce your way across the Caribbean. Astronauts’ photos capture the spirals of silver thunderheads cartwheeling against a deep blue sea. From the heaven side, hurricanes are magnificent: silent, beautiful, powerful. From the earth side, not so much.
As a kid in Miami, I found them exhausting. Battening down the hatches, riding out the storm, and living without power were just the beginning. For weeks afterward we’d work our tails off clearing the carnage. On the earth side of the storm it seemed all was broken: budgets and branches, houses and hearts. The grownups were grumpy and the yard was a mess.
But in South Florida, renewal springs eternal like a fungus you can’t get rid of. Drenching downpours and a scorching sun smother the land in humidity soup, ensuring Nature’s speedy recovery. Life goes on in a hurry. Survivors have precious little time to decide if they want to participate, as mold has already started growing in their closets. The sun will come out tomorrow, all right- but it will roast you in your recliner if you don’t patch the roof today.
So with sweat in their eyes they hammer and saw, repairing the damage and rebuilding their homes, all the while knowing that hurricane season comes every year. How do they do it? How do they keep their faith alive with wild winds ever on the horizon?
How do we?
Jesus told his disciples (and us, by John’s account) “In this life, you will have trouble.” (John 16:33 NIV) This does not sound like good news. But in the next breath he encourages us with these words:
“But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Like spirals of silver across the deep blue sea, Jesus sees our troubles from the Heaven side of eternity. Could it be that overcoming the world offers a view of our struggles as ongoing works of art: magnificent, beautiful, powerful? We know that our cries for help and mercy aren’t lost on the wings of the wind. Jesus remembers what it was like to live here on Earth, and he is ever interceding for us at the right hand of the Father. (Romans 8:34) But how does that help? What does renewal look like in the face of a broken heart?
Hurricanes drive us to Home Depot. Heartache should drive us to God’s Word. The apostle Paul knew more heartache than most of us will ever have to endure, but he had a promise from God that he shared with the church, and also with us:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)
The rain may drive in a sideways slant and the wind blow down your trees, but the temporary shelter we call hope is open ’til the day we go home to Heaven. So let’s grab the hammer and patch the roof; renewal is ours if we choose it. Glory is just on the other side of the storm.
© 2012 Rachel Ophoff, Coconut Mountain Communications LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Please visit my website at http://www.friendshipwithjesus.com