The eye of the storm

For years we lived near Galveston Bay southeast of Houston. That part of Texas is, indeed, prone to hurricane activity. Natives still talk about 1900 when a hurricane storm tide killed 6,000 persons in Galveston.

The hurricane season lasts from June to November. We were never in one, but friends who have weathered them say, “Never again!” When hurricane warnings were issued, discretion being the better part of valor, we packed up and moved farther inland to the north.

Hurricanes originate in the western Caribbean. A low pressure forms and wind begins to whirl around it blowing in a counter-clockwise direction. Moving westward, it grows in size and strength and follows a curving path toward the North Pole.

Towering cloud masses produce torrential rains and powerful winds build up waves as high as 50 feet. Landfall may be anywhere from Florida to Brownville — it’s anyone’s guess as to when and where.

Wherever it rips into the coastal area, boats are carried inland and dumped on dry land. Trees and telephone poles are uprooted, literally twisted out of the ground. The 100-mile-an-hour winds demolish buildings, tear off roofs, shatter windows, and leave behind wreckage, millions in damage and hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

Just as real, destructive and devastating are hurricanes of the heart. They begin as lowpressure hassles of life, little things that disturb and annoy — we all have them. Then they build to a new level, hurts of life that cut into mind and heart — we all have these too.

Then comes the final burst of fury, landfall, bringing the heavy stuff of life — the unexpected crisis of health, employment, home and family — it happens to all of us too.

All that saves us is the eye of the storm. That is the center of the hurricane. It measures about 20 miles across and is an area of calm; the fury begins at the edge of the eye. Even so, at the center of the hurricanes of the heart there is a place of refuge where God himself resides.

Are you in the midst of a hurricane today — hassles, hurts, heavy stuff? No emergency aid can help. Move to the center of your hurricane where God is. There you will find a place of calm, help and hope for your hour of need.

Listen to his words: “Be strong and of good courage, I will not fail you or forsake you.”

Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he served as senior minister for 23 years. He writes a column for several newspapers.

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2010-04-08 digital edition

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