As I sift through the forecasts of prophets and pundits, I ask Father, “What do YOU say about 2015?”
An understanding of the Hebraic calendar is a helpful framework for what lies ahead. The year 2015 falls in the Jewish year 5775, represented by the Hebrew letter hey. Three hey-words that describe the coming year are: whirlwind, window and breath.
Having experienced hurricanes, floods and fires, I stand in awe of the raw power unleashed in the forces of nature. Paradoxically, there is beneficence in nature that lies hidden when our focus is consumed by the devastation.
During the afternoon of Sept. 12, 1988, Hurricane Gilbert struck Jamaica with a vengeance. Tracing a path of destruction from the east end of the island to the west, Gilbert dumped 2.5 feet of pelting rain while blowing winds up to 185 mph and forming storm surges of nearly 20 feet along the North Coast. Gilbert holds the dubious distinction of “Jamaica’s Worst Hurricane Ever”. The experience was our introduction to ‘hurricane season’ in Jamaica.
As if on a massive clean-up campaign, Gilbert scoured Jamaica like a giant broom, sweeping away litter, debris and anything else not securely fastened. In its aftermath, the best and the worst of Jamaicans was exposed. While families, friends and neighbors gathered to help each other clear the rubble, repair and rebuild, thieves and scoundrels looted stores and businesses, like cockroaches scuttling about in the dark. (By no means was this lawlessness indicative of the underprivileged; the corruption and profiteering of politicians and those in power at the time was shameful!
And with Gilbert came change. Those who embraced the necessary changes, survived succeeding hurricanes and floods. Others, who ignored the lessons, rebuilt houses on the same flood-prone lots, without precautions such as hurricane straps and emergency supplies. These suffer repeated damage and devastation.
In this year of the whirlwind, that which can be shaken will be shaken: circumstances, relationships, jobs, finances, emotions, thoughts. The hurricanes that cross our path in 2015 will expose the best and the worst in us. In the apparent chaos we will discover three unshakeable realities.
(1) Embrace the coming changes with growing courage and strength, or cling to the status quo at our peril. If we lift our gaze above the visible destruction of the whirlwind, we will see that what would hold us back from greater opportunities and blessings was swept away—we are free to move on to the best that is ahead!
(2) As the whirlwind strikes, safety is found in the eye of the storm. Psalm 91 is a steadfast anchor for our soul in 2015: “As you take refuge in the shelter of the Most High, you will be safe in the shadow of the Almighty. As you say of the Eternal, ‘You are my shelter, my mighty fortress, my God, I put my trust in You,’ you will find refuge and be kept safe.” A hurricane may swirl around us, but Father’s voice will be heard as we nestle under His wing, quieting our minds and hearts to listen. His instruction will guide us through to the blessings that follow the storm.
(3) The choices we make in 2015 carry greater weight and consequence than ever before. What we see, what we say, what we think, what we believe will be challenged by the whirlwinds ahead. Will we walk by faith or by sight is the telling decision of 2015. Not mental assent nor superficial religion, but ‘standing-on-the-promises-of-God’ faith, ‘tested-and-tried’ faith.
The year 2015 promises to be the best year of our life…or the worst. The choice is ours.