The Perfect Storm

The fisherman said the Lord's name vehemently to emphasize a point he was making that had absolutely nothing to do with religion. He was just mad about something, that's all. He gathered up his gear and headed off toward the boat that was waiting for him at the dock. In a very short while the vessel headed out through the harbor and into the open sea. It would never return.

In the fall of 1991 an unusual storm hit the northeastern portion of the United States. No one really expected that this storm would turn into the "Storm of the Century." The storm was christened, "Hurricane Grace." She caught a fleet of fishing boats and gathered them into her fist flinging them upon the sea like toys.

Those aboard the vessels had been notified that a storm was coming and decisions had to be made. One captain moved his boat into colder waters knowing that the seas there would not become as violent. Another captain who had a large, lucrative catch that would be lost if he took the extra time to avoid the hurricane, decided to tackle the storm and make a run for home. He presumed upon Grace and the storm took his life and the lives of his crew.

At some point in the journey, there is evidence that he may have decided to change his headings and turn around. The storm had become more than he had expected. But he had waited too long. The seas had grown extremely violent and perhaps in his attempt to turn the vessel, she caught a massive wave at the wrong time and rolled beneath the churning, dark water and disappeared forever. Repentance had come too late.

After the storm it was recorded that a relative of one of the men who had died blamed God.

No one could see Him weeping over the men as they died. He had tried to warn them through the weather reports. It was the captain's decision to proceed into the storm.

They all knew about God, although they never tried to get to know Him. His name had mostly been used as an expression close to swearing. They said His name in vain, because there was no relationship attached to it. The Lifeline was missing because they had never sought it. And now when the terror of death was inevitable, they cried the Name again and possibly cursed the One whom they couldn't see weeping for their souls.

The Lifeline remained dangling unclaimed, and souls were buried alive beneath the undulating force of creation's fury.

Hurricanes develop in lukewarm waters. And I believe a certain amount of judgment breeds in the same lukewarm environment of our souls. We demand protection from a God we refuse to serve and we become angry when He refuses to serve us in our arrogance. He is a God of mercy and love. He is always there to intervene on behalf of struggling humanity. But prayers must be made in sincerity. God dwells with the humble and contrite. Repentance is the key that turns His ear to our needs.

Yet we pray when there is trouble, and forget Him in all the other times when we are too busy to acknowledge Him as Lord of our lives.

We have not secured ourselves to the anchor of our souls and in times of adversity we cannot feel Him close enough to comfort us, so we assume He isn't there. We curse Him for making us suffer, when we are the ones who have created our own hell.

Without the Anchor, we drift farther and farther into the realm of our own opinions. It is a sea full of shallow reefs, dark, dangerous and rather lonely waters. Yet, we prefer this sea to the humility required to reach out to God the way He directs. We are too proud to admit we need Him and we cannot save ourselves. So we drown in the catastrophe of rejecting Him. We fill churches at funeral time with our heads bowed. We listen to sacred songs telling us about love that was sacrificed for us on a cross. Then we leave when it is over to go and stare at a vast expanse of sea and wonder where it ends.

It doesn't.

So we board our little man-made boats. Trusting in them, we go out again wondering if we've learned a thing.

copyright 2002 by H.D. Shively

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