Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Overwhelming

"It's not on it's way.... it's already here".

London last night.

Back on October 15th, 1987, around 10.30 at night, the United Kingdom was struck by the most powerful storm the country had witnessed in over three hundred years. With winds averaging 110 mph, a force four times greater than that of a hurricane, the country found itself ravaged and its landscape totally changed, a billion pounds worth of damage in just a few hours.
The extraordinary thing about this entire event is no one saw it coming - the weathermen were clueless - the event only became real as it rushed upon the country - total, uncontrollable power.

I recall the next morning. We had escaped lightly at home with a few broken windows and lost roof tiles, but there was carnage everywhere, and when I visited the local woods the next day, I could not believe my eyes. Entire areas of ancient woodland had been uprooted from its place within the earth and thrown around like kindling. The air was heavy with the smell of sap from hundreds of acres of broken trees. I recently visited those same woods again - the old pleasant open broad leaf glades are gone, never to be replaced. Fifteen million trees were lost across Southern England that night (90% of forests), and London was shrouded in black as major power facilities were wrenched from the national grid, and every major road was blocked.

The storm, I felt, was a warning, an omen of change.
I recall a vivid nightmare I had in the weeks following that event - standing on a beach before a rising wave, hundreds of feet high, rushing forward.

London was ablaze last night, not because of a natural occurrence, but due to rioting, violence and looting on her streets. Politicians speak, like the weathermen of 87, as if it was unexpected, but the storm is truly upon us. The economies of the Western world are in disarray, and the consequences are evident - for the very first time in my life, I see a wave of uncontrollable power rising, and our leaders have no possible means to avoid or control the changes which are coming. Like that night of the great storm, we are close to truly being overwhelmed.

It is at moments like this that my thoughts turn to Psalm 46, rightly known as the song of the Reformation. There is indeed only one help in such times of need, only one who, whether in life or in death, can truly be our refuge and our strength.
I listen to the radio now and hear the storm rising. Only He is able, once more, to say "Peace, be still". Let us hope that such a moment comes soon.

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