I awoke at 4am this morning to hear the wild wind howling like a pack of angry wolves; I quickly jumped out of bed to close the window as a fearful shiver tickled my spine. A few hours later the ferocious wind continued to howl wildly in the woods as I walked the boys to school. I had to catch my thoughts and take them captive as images of fallen trees swooped down to take our little lives.
I looked up to see the bright moon swallowed by grey and unrelenting clouds, a downpour was inevitable as we rushed through the school gates. My wide eyed son asked me if we could go to America to see a tornado and, “what is it like inside a tornado mummy?” I explained that it’s actually calm. The eye of a storm is still. I told him that that is what Jesus is like, calm in the storm. And although we cannot see him, like we cannot see the wind, we can feel him and see his power at work. Half listening he bumbled into school with an excitable heart and a head filled with dreams of tornadoes and hurricanes.
As I walked away I looked up to see a bright and beautiful rainbow arch the black sky, light rain kissed our faces as I was reminded again of God’s promise and his protection. Even in the face of adversity I am secure.
I don’t know about you but the news of death seems to linger so closely in air these days, weather devastation, disease, terrorism…our world is full of unrelenting bad news and if we’re not careful to keep the peace, our minds can be consumed with fear of death.
Death is such a baffling concept when I think about it too much, the thought that we can be here one minute and gone the next is so strange. Gone where? How can we be alive, breathing, seeing, hearts beating and then not. How can this be? As a Christian I now cannot fathom the thought of not being, not living, because even though my heart will stop beating I will continue to live. My soul and my spirit move on. My body is the only part of me that will die and then I will get a new undying body in heaven.
To an unbeliever my faith may sound ridiculous but to be honest the thought of life ending in tragic emptiness to me does not make sense. Life is too incredible and intricate for it all to just simply be a pointless accident.
I’m too far into my journey of faith and the revelation that life here on earth is fleeting, to think that all we are is a body that happens to be able to produce life and love and feel and be able to kill and hate and hurt. We are too creative and thoughtful to be like animals and we are too passionate, loving and dangerous to be accidental. I believe we take life here on earth too seriously (as though this is all there is) because at the end of the day life is more than this life on earth.
When I was travelling in Cambodia I visited The Killing Fields where Pol Pot (a genocidal tyrant) and the Khmer Rouge were responsible for killing approximately 2 million people. I visited the torture chambers where the blood stains were still covering the walls and the torture instruments still on display beside the torture beds. I saw the trees on which the people were hung upside down and tortured to death in the most barbaric and horrific ways, I saw a glass Wat of a thousand skulls and mass graves with bits of bone and clothing still inside and do you know what conclusion I came to that day?
I was on a journey back to God. I had lived my life without him for long enough and I needed answers to why such horror can possibly exist. I carried a broken heart that day, for what I could see before me, but also for the heart ache and hurt I carried in my own life, and as I stood beside the mass graves and as I sat outside this museum of death at 10am in the morning, not a bird would fly by. I bought a beer from a man on the corner and I drank the beer and wept and wept because of the suffering in this world and instead of saying the same old line,
“How can there be a God to allow such horror to take place?”
I looked up at the sorry sky and I saw the truth.
“How can there not be a God? How on earth is it possible for there not to be a God?”
A God to justify the horror, the pain and suffering. A God that went through the worst and most unimaginable horrific suffering of mankind as he took upon the sin of this world, he died for every genocide that has ever taken place, he died for every disease, for every terrorist attack, every death, every heart broken, he took it all and sacrificed himself because he loves us so much.
I realised that day, at the side of the road, drinking my beer for breakfast that there is so much more to life than what we see with our naked eyes. His heart breaks with us. His heart was broken on the cross. He felt our suffering and bled and died to set us free and life here in this delicate and unpredictable world is full of hope.
The God of the universe came to set you free from a life of hopelessness and although there is no promise of a perfect life here during this little time on earth, there is a promise of forgiveness, unimaginable joy, a promise of healing, redemption and the most wonderful of all, a promise of eternal life. Even though the storm is raging and the wild wind is howling and your life could literally seem as though it is falling apart; there is a peace to be found, a calm place in the eye of the storm and in this resting place is a man named Jesus.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former order of things has passed away.”