The past few days of my life have been spent preparing for and living through hurricane Iselle. Although she was downgraded to a tropical storm and her circulation was disrupted while battling with the towering volcanic mountains of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, we still felt her fury on my island of Oahu. I had dragged my deck furniture into the living room to keep it from flying away, so I sat in the wicker rocker and watched Iselle spit her rain against my windows and angrily shake the branches of my old avocado tree. Spellbound by the wind and rain, the thought drifted into my mind that the hurricane tells us a lot about ourselves and about life. A hurricane is an unwelcome and formidable interruption that can bring out the best or the worst in us. It can also be a picture of the evil in the world that often threatens and sometimes kills. Did you know the word “hurricane” comes from “Juracan”, the god of evil of the ancient South American Taino tribe?
As a picture of evil, hurricane Iselle came and disrupted our peace while she was still many miles out at sea. She brought out the ugliness in some people as they fought for the last cases of bottled water in the stores and pushed back a woman on crutches who was pleading for someone to help her. Iselle struck fear into the hearts of those living on the eastern coast of Hawaii as they boarded up their windows, closed their places of business, or fled to Red Cross shelters. Tourists lined up at the airport, eager to get out of town. As if to taunt them all, the category 3 hurricane swirled off the coast and slowed her speed toward shore. Then, like an unrestrained terrorist, she burst forward and flooded the streets with over a foot of rain, toppled power lines, uprooted trees, tore the roofs off houses, and stirred up thirty foot waves to crash over the sea wall. She had no regard for human life, though thankfully she shed no blood. But perhaps the worst part was that no one knew what she would do next as she moved across the seas toward our islands. The meteorologists “predicted”, but in the end they had no way of knowing because they had no control.
Having no control may be the thing we fear most in the face of evil. I had no control of the rain slashing at my windows and flooding down my street. I had no control of the fury that pummeled my avocado tree. We had no control over the evil that was unleashed on our nation on 9/11. We have no control of suicide bombers who become human lethal weapons, or of Hamas’ rocket strikes on Israel. And though it breaks our hearts to hear of innocent people, many of them children, stranded in Northern Iraq and threatened by ISIL terrorists with the choice of starvation or brutal execution, we have no control!
Although we may have no control over the evil in our world, as Christians, empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit, we do have control over the evil that wants to rule our souls. By the grace of God, we can refuse to allow evil to make its home in us. We can refuse to be a source of evil that can make the lives of those around us a nightmare. By the grace of God, we can refuse to be tempted and hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13). We can refuse to lie, cheat, steal, or gossip -- to be lazy, proud, selfish, hateful, or manipulating. We can refuse to be involved in anything that does not honor God and glorify Him. I thought about what those things might be in my life and I am convicted to make needed changes. I decided that I do not want anything in my life that I would not like to see in the lives of my grandchildren.
Besides removing the negative, we can also shine our light upon the darkness of evil in our world by praying for those who suffer in the face of evil. We can intercede with the One who does have control. We can pray humbly, harder, longer, more fervently, and together as our lives stand as a testimony against evil. Furthermore, we can be informed about the evil that disrupts our world and speak against it. We can speak up for what is good, right, decent, and humane. We do not need to remain silent in the face of evil. We should not!
All these thoughts came from a few moments of sitting at my window, watching and contemplating hurricane Iselle. I believe it was God’s message to me as an individual, but I have shared it with you in the hope that you will glean some bit of nourishment for your soul or conviction of your heart. My prayer is that we may live as pure lights in the world, being the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13), that the darkness may be exposed and inhumanity to our fellow human beings eradicated.
Hurricane Iselle has begun to look small in consideration of the evils of this world.
By His grace
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.