Monday, May 15, 2017

Hail, part 1.

Last week Monday we went to Denver so that Robin could watch her favorite sports team, the Chicago Cubs, play a game against the Colorado Rockies.  We had a good trip, but certainly not the trip we had expected!  One of the unexpected things was getting caught in a hail storm late
Monday afternoon, which inspired me to think about a few things.  One post comes today, and I'm hoping to write along a different line of thought later this week.

We had an uneventful drive to Denver.  It was a beautiful day to travel.  There was minimal road construction and the traffic was light.  As we got close to Denver it looked like it might rain and a storm began as we ran a few errands before checking in to our motel.  And that's when things really got interesting!

We drove to the motel.  Kat and I sat in the car while Robin went in to take care of the arrangements for our room.  The rain, which was not falling very hard, turned to hail, which quickly increased in intensity.  As it struck the car it got louder and louder.  Looking outside there were pieces on the ground ranging from the size of a dime to the size of a quarter.  Judging from the violence of the noise and vibration as some struck the roof of the car some pieces must have been larger. 

I usually consider hail to be a fairly brief phenomenon but this storm last about fifteen minutes.  The picture is of the hood of our car, after the storm.  The car's roof looks about the same.  The hail also broke both side view mirrors and the taillight covers.  Inside the motel lobby, where Robin was, the hail broke four double-pane windows.  Fortunately the blinds were closed as the storm began, minimizing the spread of glass shards in the motel lobby.

During the storm, and in its aftermath, I was glad that everyone in my family was in a sheltered place.  To be outside in that storm would be physically dangerous and perhaps terrifying emotionally. And then I thought of Martin Luther

One of the turning points in Luther's life occurred on July 2, 1505, when he was caught outside in a thunderstorm.  A bolt of lightning struck so close to him that he cried out in a vow to pursue a life of particular devotion to God.  We might say that one thing led to another and the rest is history. 

My experience in the hail of last Monday gave me a glimpse into the terror that Luther felt at the time of the thunderstorm.  Like Luther, I am glad to have come to understand that the God who created the heavens and the earth is not merely a God of law and judgment, but also a God of gospel and mercy. 

Psalm 91 begins with these words:

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”"

My refuge and fortress, Luther's refuge and fortress, is not the protection given by a car in a hail storm or a vow made during a thunderstorm. 

The refuge and fortress that was Luther's over five hundred years ago, and is mine today, is only found in the person of Jesus Christ. 

By faith in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, you too can know the only refuge and fortress that will never falter.  

Life will still have its hazards, and storms will come into your life, but your eternal place will be with Christ, and He will never fail.  Amen.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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