Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hail, part 2.

Last week our family got caught in a hailstorm while in Denver.  The storm gave me a few things to think about, one of which I wrote about on Monday, and the other, which is today's post.

I have been inside the house during a hail storm before, most noticeably the storm that came through Dulce two years ago.  There was really large hail that day and Kat and I watched it fall and then bounce three feet into the air. From the comfort of the house it was primarily entertainment.

But that storm wasn't entertaining for Robin, who was outside at the post office parking lot, using a box to protect her head.  She came home with bruises from hail hitting her shoulders and arms. 

The storm last week was intense.  The hail started falling as Robin was checking our family into a motel.  Kat and I were waiting in the car and the storm turned from rain to hail while Robin was in the motel.  Several things came to mind during the fifteen minutes, by my best guess, that the hail lasted.

First was the violence of the storm.  As we sat in the car the noise of hail striking our car was so loud that Kat and I had to yell to hear each other.  The violence was also evident when particularly large pieces of hail struck the car.  The noise sounded as if someone was swinging a framing hammer on our car.

Second was the relentless nature of the storm.  When I think of hail I think of a storm that is intense, but brief.  My memory of hail in Minnesota is the it would only fall for a few minutes  and then the storm would either turn to rain or just fade away.  There was so much hail during last week's storm that the city had to get plows out to clear off the freeway.

And lastly, as I hoped that everyone who might have been outside had found shelter, I wondered what it would be like to out outside in a storm like that, with no options for shelter.  Violence that is intense and unrelenting, and with no escape and, while it is happening, no end in sight.  That last image is one that I think gives us a glimpse of the wrath of God towards human sin.

From our point of view, as sinful humans living in a fallen world, the wrath of God against sin is almost impossibly hard to grasp.  We can make all kinds of excuses and give all kinds of reasons for believing that there is no such a thing as God pouring his wrath out against sin.  "God is love." "That is old fashioned; a hold-over from the Old Testament."  "Sin isn't really that bad."  "Surely you are misreading the Bible."  The list could go on and on.

But whatever we might want to say against the idea of God's wrath, we can't deny that from Genesis through Revelation, God hates sin and promises to deal with it.  And one of the ways he promises to deal with it is to offer a substitute, to bear his wrath against our sin, so that we can be made whole with him.  That substitute, Jesus, knew the truth of God's wrath when, as he approached the moment of bearing it, the Bible says:

"And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”"

Last week's hail storm gave me a glimpse into the wrath of God against human sin, wrath that I fully deserve, whether I can grasp how terrible it truly is or not.   But is a wrath that I have been delivered from, in the mercy and grace God gives to all who call on Jesus as Savior and Lord. 

Salvation is found in no other name.  May you know salvation in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  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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