It’s that time of year again—hurricane season. The time of year when, despite responsible preparation, catastrophic winds and unfathomable amounts of water wreak havoc on coastal lands. In the past few years, it has become increasingly clear that a direct hit from the eye of a hurricane will leave everything in its path changed forever. The destruction has been supernatural, and even I—a born and raised Nebraskan—have been paralyzed by the videos of the recent hurricanes. Although this response is partly caused by the immediate desire to pray for those impacted by these storms, there is simply something mesmerizing about these images. Their winds are unparalleled, and their strength is unmatched.
“How He Loves” by David Crowder Band begins with these lyrics:
“He is jealous for me. Love's like a hurricane. I am a tree, Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.”
Each time I see a video taken during a hurricane or a photo taken of the hurricane’s aftermath, this song immediately runs through my head. I believe it is this opening lyric that causes me to be so mesmerized by a hurricane’s awesome power. When I see the images of the trees blowing helplessly in the wind, I am overwhelmed by God’s power.
Not only did God create the oceans, He controls them. The writer of Psalm 89:9 says, “You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.” The writer of Psalm 107:29 reminders us again of God’s power: “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.” God is SO POWERFUL that he could nonchalantly walk through the eye of a hurricane, tell it to stop, and watch each tree immediately return to its upright position. Like…I know that many of us know that God reigns over all, but I don’t know if we understand just how powerful He is. Understanding His power in the abstract is much different than understanding His power by seeing it with our own eyes. And apparently, I am not the only one who needs a few visual examples of this in order to truly understand God’s power, because Matthew 8:27 reads, “The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? [talking about Jesus] Even the winds and the waves obey him!’”
OK—so here I am watching a video of a hurricane. I am completely overwhelmed at that fact that God is somehow more powerful than this immense storm that I am watching, and I start to feel something that Christ-followers don’t like to admit that they feel: I start collapsing under the fear that something MORE POWERFUL than this storm—which literally levels entire cities—exists at all. It is then that the next part of David Crowder Band’s lyrics run through my head:
“When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory. And I realize just how beautiful You are, And how great Your affections are for me.”
So not only is God SO POWERFUL that He controls all the oceans—but He absolutely loves me and uses His power for my good. The writers of scripture remind us of this several times. Isaiah 43:2 reads, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Psalm 136:6 reads, “who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever.” Jeremiah 29:11 reads, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
As I remember this, that flicker of fear starts to dissipate, and I start trying to drive out whatever fear remains by reminiscing on just how much He loves me. The first thing that comes to my mind is the “Jesus Loves Me” song that I learned in preschool—I don’t know why this is my go-to, but there are just some things that the mind never forgets. The next thing that comes to mind is my husband. The next is my home and then my ability to further my education. As I continue to add to the list of things I once prayed for and now have, I realize that I am overwhelmingly blessed and that it is clear that my hard work alone was NOT able to create this life. I know that God provides for me, blesses me, and loves me.
Even so, my human mind begins to attempt to rationalize this concept. Each of my failures—big and small—begins to seep into my mind one by one. Soon my mindset has shifted from “God loves me and blesses me” to “that can’t be right...I don’t deserve it.” I know that we as Christians know that God loves us, but I don’t know if we understand just how MUCH He loves us. That is why this song is so inspiring to me—it is like the composer was undergoing my exact same thought process. As I watch a video of a hurricane, all of these thoughts somehow rush through my head in a matter of seconds. I am empathetic for those impacted, I am amazed by God’s power, I am afraid of God’s power, I am thankful that He uses His power to love me greatly, I am confused as to why he would ever love me so much, but as I keep watching, the fear and confusion fades. The restlessness of my mind is quieted when I am suddenly hypnotized by a single tree waving helplessly in the wind. I LITERALLY become unaware of all pain and suffering in that single instant, and I become so overwhelmed by God’s pure, unfailing love that I somehow realize I have been watching a single tree blow in the wind for fifteen minutes.
This mystifying event somehow happens to me each September. Although hurricanes bring unfathomable tragedy, there is something beautiful and captivating about them. As we continue to see the destruction from this year’s first big hurricane, let’s continue to pray for those impacted. Let’s not disregard the devastation that people are enduring as a result of Hurricane Dorian this year. However, let’s not allow an opportunity to experience God’s supernatural power and love to pass us by. God wants us to be confident in His promises: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6. God’s reminders are all around us—sometimes we just have to look.