Storm Warning

My friends, Glen and Roberta Roachelle, once sat in a beachside restaurant as a storm moved in. Just as they took their first sip of coffee, a wave crashed over the seawall and against the windows. As diners laughed nervously, Glen told Roberta, “Let’s leave right now.”

When they stepped outside, a larger wave blew out the windows. Water and shards of glass filled the area where they had sat moments earlier.

The Gathering Storm

Storms are essential; they transport water, often across areas of drought, and redistribute temperatures between the poles and the equator. They cleanse the air and land, nourish crops, replenish aquifers, etc.

They also kill. Storm surge, wind, lightning, freezing, and flooding can wipe out human life, quickly and extensively. The Galveston, Texas hurricane of 1900 killed 8 – 10 thousand people. In 1970, a cyclone wiped out a half million people in East Pakistan.

A massive (and essential) storm is moving across our land. We see features of it every day; a culture of outrage, random violence, family and friends divided by politics, shocking increases of suicide and opioid usage, escalating vulgarity, and a general loss of decency and decorum.

Despite the transitory pain and disruption, I believe the storm will bring long-term transformation (as storms always do). That’s why I think focusing on Trump, immigration, Islam, sexual identity, or technological intrusions misses the larger picture. Comparatively, they are all mere data points for the massive storm.

Be There

Just as no one can control earthquakes, tornados, droughts, or hurricanes, humans have no power over the direction, intensity, or consequences of the storm pounding our country now. But, we might survive if we take precautions. Here are a few:

  • BE KIND

    Because our social environment is so combustible, words explode as matches dropped in dry leaves. I know conflict screams for engagement, but be careful! Think about it; getting combative over politics, Facebook, or Jesus is not going to change anyone’s mind. But, kindness often shifts the focus to the things that really matter.

  • STAY HOME

    In 2017, I heard an ER doctor tell a high school graduating class, “Trust me; nothing good happens after midnight. Please go home.” Remember, home is (or can be) a sanctuary. You don’t need a reason to go home; you need a reason to leave.

  • BE SUBVERSIVE

    We all live through an insane insistence that we conform to the dysfunction around us. But, the sane person must be subversive—a secret agent of lucidity and stability—in times of insanity. And to be sane today is to live and speak generously. Reach through the fog of politics to connect with people. Serve others. Stop, look, listen. Pray for one another. Give a damn.
  • KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL

    Our cultural storm includes a tornadic swirl of nudges, suggestions, invitations, and demands. Ignore them. Good grief; you’re on home plate and the pitch is screaming toward you. The gnats don’t warrant your attention.

  • REMAIN INSIDE MORAL AND ETHICAL SAFETY

    We are living through a monumental collapse of those who ignored the classic standards of ethics and morality. We should not judge them, but the career destruction and humiliation should be all the warning we need to humble ourselves and increase our moral and ethical vigilance. Run to God’s safety and rest.
  • BE QUIET

    One line of the Miranda warning says, “Anything you say can and will be used against you…” What do we not understand about “can and will?” Stop talking! Pretending you’re mute can save your time, money, reputation, and perhaps your freedom. My brother Vernon, a longtime Kansas Sheriff says, “The right to be silent is one of our most precious freedoms, and so few use it.”

  • TRANSCEND REACTION

    Our culture invests great energies and dollars to goading people to react. And, when we are continuously prodded by anger, outrage, temptation, and other provocations, we tend to become reactive. We wait to be told when to click, buy, get mad, exhibit outrage, what to believe, etc. But, remember, you don’t have to explain anything or make everyone happy. Rise above reaction; live straight ahead.

Look; storms are inevitable. They serve the Creator’s purposes. But, they’re also dangerous. That’s why civilizations develop storm warnings. By taking mindful cautions, you can survive and continue in your life’s purpose. As Coach Dan Reeves said in an old pharmaceutical commercial, “It’s your future. Be there.”

19 thoughts on “Storm Warning”

  1. Excellent article, points are right on. I took a lot of men to prison, who had they just stayed home, they would be free men! It is always not only ethically and morally right to be kind, it is always legal! Great article!

  2. Oh this is so great and timely! This transcends over any and all areas of life no matter what age or time period of one’s life. Thank you for writing this and sharing it. I appreciate you always being above the valley giving everyone far and wide an overview they need to see and hear.

  3. David Edgerton

    Interesting use of the storm coming. Very timely article Ed. I would suggest people heed your words as sound wisdom. In 2016 Trump was in Lynden wa which is where Micah lives. Jennifer lives down the road. Their house is along a river road, can’t see the main road from her house. She went out with her daughter to meet her husband Ryan. She entered the main road between Lynden and Bellingham only to get stuck in traffic. People had chained themselves to the bridge in order to prevent people getting to the Trump rally. Jennifer was stuck for a long time with my granddaughter .
    Thank you Ed for being a watchmen on the wall.

    1. Vivien Hibbert

      Hey…I lived in Lynden WA for about 5 years – I know those roads between Lynden and Bellingham. You hardly ever hear about that lovely wee town!!

      Wonderful article, Ed…as always. Excellent, wise, and practical. Thank you.

  4. Glen Roachelle

    Oh the wisdom of avoiding the culture of outrage! This posting, if so full of wisdom, Ed! It’s all so good, but being shrewd enough to subvert the rotting culture by being “a secret agent of lucidity and stability.” Wow! Thanks, Ed.

  5. Linda Scherrer

    Several years ago I came across a book entitled “The Church in Babylon.” It was about how to be the Church in this Post-Christian age. Indeed, our present culture has more in common with the barbarities of Antiquity than we do with Christendom, and I often find myself reflecting on that title when I observe the stormy world around us. Along with our pastor’s recommendations for how to live in such times from Micah 6:8 – “..do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with thy God…”, this is good counsel on how to flesh that out. Thank you.

  6. “Thanks Ed”, is not enough to say here.

    You are bringing peace in a storm that continues to rage without any end in sight. The inescapability of all hell breaking loose goes on and on everywhere.

    Stay home. Exercise your precious right to silence. I don’t find such wisdom on my 637 cable tv channels. Hanging out here in Cool River Pub is time well spent. It’s good here, it’s real good.

    Really, thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanks so much, Ed.
    Good advice in any weather. Reminds me that “even a fool is counted wise when he keeps silent.”
    I appreciate your giving us this wise perspective.

  8. Were I an entrepreneur, I would be providing 24/7/365 babysitting to 21-25 year-old NFL and NBA athletes, paid for by their teams.

  9. I love how you lead…kindness. When did it become so Christian to be unkind to people? I can’t always agree, but I can always be kind.

    I also love the concept of the greater purpose behind a storm. It’s meant. Doesn’t always make it easier to live through…but there is purpose behind it.

  10. Thank you Ed. Never tire of your insight and life giving words. Really enjoy your encouragement to be kind as follows:

    “But, kindness often shifts the focus to the things that really matter.”

  11. Just needed to read some of your words today, this was so good! I’m continually reminded lately that there is always a bigger picture we can’t begin to comprehend. And our part is just to focus on the One who can see the big picture. “Good grief; you’re on home plate and the pitch is screaming toward you. The gnats don’t warrant your attention.” Absolutely love that line!

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