As we enjoy the high days of summer in South Florida, we are wary of the potential for tropical storms and the dreaded hurricane to interrupt our lives.
If you have ever given it any thought, you will have considered that just about every place on the planet is subject to some type of storm.
In this country alone, there are a variety of natural manifestations that affect the different areas of this nation.
Snowstorms in the Northern states, tornadoes in the Midwest, earthquakes on the West Coast and hurricanes in the South are just a few of the inevitable realities that we will have to contend against and live with.
More than a disruption to our lives, storms are destructive and potentially deadly.
Recent news coverage showed the damage caused by flooding in Kentucky and Arizona. Homes were saturated with water, vehicles were swept away and lives were put at risk. Similarly, an ice storm can topple power lines and damage roofs.
Hurricane force winds can decimate unstable structures and make projectiles out of debris. And raging fire storms can wipe out thousands of acres of forests and destroy an area’s ecology.
While some would place the cause of storms on man-caused climate change, they have really been occurring as long as life has existed on earth. But why do storms occur, and what purpose do they serve? Outside of human involvement, storms have origins that are best explained by scientists and meteorologists.
Their purpose may be a mystery to their victims, but those who study storms point to some advantages. Hurricanes and winter storms are said to vent off heat from the lower levels of the atmosphere. And the same storm that erodes the beach on a barrier island actually fortifies the back side of the same island through new sediment deposits carried by the wind and waves. In addition, nutrients on the ocean floor are stirred and cycled to the surface to boost marine life. And lightning is said to maintain the electrical balance in the atmosphere, as well as help with nitrogen deposits in soil.
We’ve likened the adversities of life to storms, and even refer to them as such. Could there also be an intent in some of the difficulties that we inevitably face?
If one looks closely enough, he may indeed find some semblance of a purpose for his pain. Many successes have resulted only after a series of setbacks. Necessity (want or lack) is said to be the mother of invention.
A weakness in one area may cause us to discover a strength in another. And some people with disabilities are driven to achieve, and often excel, in their efforts.
While answers to the purpose for life’s storms are not always easy to discover, and some may never be found, it does not hurt to ask. As King Solomon declared in Ecclesiastes 3 verse 1, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”
Faith in God has enabled many believers to weather the storms of life. The comfort of Biblical promises, and the strong sense of God’s presence has provided peace through some of the greatest challenges.
As you prepare for the possibility of a hurricane, make sure you also have the spiritual equipment to help you survive the emotional and spiritual upheaval that may come your way. “You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat” (Isaiah 25:4).
Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.