Thursday, September 07, 2017

Destruction in Paradise!

 We have had the joy of living and working in what many would describe as an island paradise. I am referring to Seychelles, a wonderful chain of fabulous islands in the Indian Ocean. We found the humidity and heat to be quite challenging but there were so many positive things to enjoy and even to marvel at. Thankfully there were no hurricanes in that part of the world, but there were occasional heavy storms of torrential rain.  My heart goes out, therefore, to the folk living in the chain of islands in the Caribbean which have been so badly hit this week by Atlantic storm Irma. Their glorious paradise has been turned into chaos and disaster by this huge storm and even lives have been lost in its destructive track.
It must be so hard to find a lovely homestead or other property being trashed by the powers of nature. The fear and dread among children and adults alike must be great, especially when evacuation is not as easy as it might appear on the US mainland. I am praying for those affected by Irma and all involved in rescue, recovery and repair, as there is another storm expected soon in that part of the world.

It seems to me that we need to realise that sometimes our dreams of paradise and a fabulous lifestyle on Earth surrounded by the warm waters of the Caribbean, may be just a pipe-dream. There will also probably be cruise liners taking shelter at this time, robbing the hopeful passengers of visits ashore in this blighted archipelago. But this is a much more normal understanding of life. In the most sublime of situations, dreadful storms can come and cause us so much pain. Whether through family upheaval or divorce, sickness and pain, redundancy or loss of meaningful work through retirement, our image of a great life can be spoiled in short order. This is one of the reasons why I have published at least 2 books on the subject of storms - Braving the Storm and Storm Force and am currently working on at least one more (After the Storm!)

Jesus led his first-century followers through many storms - quite literally on the changeable waters of the Sea of Galilee - teaching them that in the most awful storms threatening our lives and dreams, he wants to be with us and see us through. After 20 years of being struck repeatedly by one of the most painful illnesses it is possible to endure, Diane and I have proved again and again that life can be rebuilt, and even if not down here, there is a Paradise that awaits Christ followers that no storm can destroy.