Rev. Dan Prout, Sierra Ministries International
The term Perfect Storm came into modern usage in 1997 when Sebastian Junger published his creative, non-fiction book about the intense weather event which hit New England and the North Atlantic in 1991. Three meteorologic factors came together, merging into one massive, powerful cyclone. Officially a hurricane, the storm center looped back into the New England coast with waves topping 30 feet. A marker buoy off the coast of Nova Scotia measured a wave at just over 100 feet, the greatest height ever recorded in that oceanic region.
The term Perfect Storm is being used to describe what the United States is experiencing this year. Enduring months of shut down due to the Corona Virus epidemic, the nation has seen a near collapse of its once thriving economy. Jobs were lost by the millions as businesses closed their operations. Capital investments and resources eroded in the billions of dollars.
Just as the government was allowing reopening of the doors, a tragic, horrific event took place in Minnesota on the evening of Memorial Day, no less. The filmed death of George Floyd, a black man under the physical control of police officers, hit the citizenry like a bomb. Uproar from the revolting event sent the country reeling. The dark reality of our societal ills were exposed by pounding waves of media reports, drowning us in realities we do not want to admit.
There is an interesting story of another storm in the Bible and it seems to have application for us today. After a day of teaching crowds of people, Jesus directs the twelve disciples with him to head out to the other side of the large, inland lake called the Sea of Galilee. He falls asleep in the stern of the boat. A wind storm springs up, tossing waves so violently that the boat begins to take on water. The experienced fishermen among the motley crew do what they can but to no avail. In fearful desperation, they wake Jesus, saying, “Teacher, don’t you care we are about to drown?” Jesus rises, speaks aloud to the wind and waves, and all becomes quiet. The sun comes out and all is peaceful.
Here is what is of most importance in understanding the story: The men are doing everything in their experience and power to keep their boat afloat. Jesus is merely a passenger, not engaged in the situation which rapidly becomes a predicament. When the men realize their efforts are inadequate and failing, they turn to Jesus. Jesus, asleep in the story, does not interfere in their lives until he is called upon. But when he is asked for help, he stops the wind and waves, the sun comes out and all is peaceful, as it should be when we invite God to be involved in human affairs.
While we must put forward our best efforts in our personal lives and in our society’s institutions and frameworks, we must not continue in the deception we can manage to organize and administrate our way into national peace and calm. We must call upon God, Maker of the Universe, for help. We have had plenty of time to work it out ourselves and it is now clear to all we have failed.
A nation caught in the throes of a perfect storm needs to call on the perfect Savior for help. When besieged by Nazi Germany and facing certain destruction, Winston Churchill rallied his nation with the encouragement that this would Britain’s finest hour. For us, let Americans rise up in our nation’s time of need and let it be our finest hour.
The Rev. Dan H. Prout is president of Sierra Ministries, a Christian teaching and training organization. He is the founder of Pray Nevada County and one of the founding organizers of the state-wide coalition Pray California. Dan serves with North State Pastors Regional Team, a trans-denominational fellowship promoting prayer and unity in the Body of Christ. Dan is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary. http://www.sierraministries.org/
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.