What’s the Story?

Hurricane Matthew is expected to be the first major hurricane to make landfall in the US since 2005’s Wilma. With 115 mph winds, the hurricane has already devastated remote parts of Haiti and Cuba. Now it’s making its way to Florida—expected sometime Friday—before traveling up the East Coast toward the Carolinas. Both Florida and South Carolina have urged residents to evacuate ahead of the storm’s arrival.

A Stormy Reminder

In Haiti and Cuba, many people are much poorer than those in the United States, but hurricanes like this one do much to level the playing field. Citizens in all 3 countries can do little more than flee their homes and hope their houses are still standing when they return. Fierce weather like Hurricane Matthew is a great equalizer, reminding us that we are much more alike than different. That’s easy to forget that when we compare the size of our houses. Hurricane Matthew forces us out of that way of thinking.

What Have I Forgotten?

Natural disasters have great power, not only to destroy, but also to reveal what we forget about. If we look at Hurricane Matthew with spiritual eyes, we can see God—and ourselves—more clearly. We all deeply need God’s care and shelter. We depend on God, no matter how big or small our house is. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes storms in life to remind us of that, sometimes even hurricanes.

After Jonah Left

In the Bible, Nineveh was a city that believed they could thrive without God. You might remember Nineveh from the story of Jonah swallowed by the fish—he had warned them once already. Unfortunately, Nineveh forgot about God after Jonah left. Eventually, another prophet named Nahum came along to warn them one more time—God’s hurricane-sized judgment would fall on them if they didn’t turn away from doing evil.

Nahum told Nineveh—a reminds us—that life apart from God is more devastating than any hurricane could be, but that God will make a home for anyone who looks to him for help.

Nahum 1:2-8

God is serious business.
    He won’t be trifled with.
He avenges his foes.
    He stands up against his enemies, fierce and raging.
But God doesn’t lose his temper.
    He’s powerful, but it’s a patient power.
Still, no one gets by with anything.
    Sooner or later, everyone pays.
Tornadoes and hurricanes
    are the wake of his passage,
Storm clouds are the dust
    he shakes off his feet.
He yells at the sea: It dries up.
    All the rivers run dry.
The Bashan and Carmel mountains shrivel,
    the Lebanon orchards shrivel.
Mountains quake in their roots,
    hills dissolve into mud flats.
Earth shakes in fear of God.
    The whole world’s in a panic.
Who can face such towering anger?
    Who can stand up to this fierce rage?
His anger spills out like a river of lava,
    his fury shatters boulders.

God is good,
    a hiding place in tough times.
He recognizes and welcomes
    anyone looking for help,
No matter how desperate the trouble.
    But cozy islands of escape
He wipes right off the map.
    No one gets away from God.

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