Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | September 12, 2018

Hurricane Coming

(5 Minute Read)

Hurricane Florence is expected to smash into the east coast of the United States with winds up to 150 mph later this week.


The average hurricane spans about 300 miles, but Florence is a monster storm spanning 575 miles. This is significantly larger than 2005’s Hurricane Katrina (415 miles wide) but currently smaller than Hurricane Sandy’s record width of 1,000 miles in 2012.

The National Hurricane Center classifies Florence as an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm. The center issued hurricane and storm surge watches for the East Coast from Edisto Beach, South Carolina, all the way north to the North Carolina-Virginia border.

The center warns of an “extremely dangerous” triple threat in the Carolinas and Virginia:
1. A life-threatening storm surge (rise in ocean water over dry land).
2. Life-threatening flooding from exceptionally heavy rainfall — as much as 4 feet of rain. Recent rains have already produced high rivers and saturated ground in North & South Carolina and Virginia. The slow-moving storm will exacerbate flooding danger.
3. Hurricane-force winds over hundreds of square miles of land.

A Category 4 hurricane (winds 130-156 mph) can be mind-numbingly catastrophic. The National Hurricane Center described the potential damage from a Category 4 storm: “Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

South Carolina governor Henry McMaster issued mandatory evacuation orders along the South Carolina coast resulting in over 1 million people fleeing the storm. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered mandatory coastline evacuations. The governors of Virginia, Maryland, and North and South Carolina have declared states of emergency before the storm even hits.

President Trump tweeted Monday afternoon:
“The Storms in the Atlantic are very dangerous. We encourage anyone in the path of these storms to prepare themselves and to heed the warnings of State and Local officials. The Federal Government is closely monitoring and ready to assist. We are with you!”

What is a Hurricane?

Called typhoons in the Pacific and cyclones in the Indian Ocean, hurricanes are huge rotating thunderstorm systems with sustained winds of 74 mph (Category 1) to 157+ mph (Category 5). Hurricanes can generate 100-foot waves, extend hundreds of miles across, last over two weeks, and travel thousands of miles.

Hurricane formation is only partially understood. When rain condenses from rising moist warm air, the resulting dry cooler air cascades earthward, generating powerful winds. These sweep up more moisture from a warm ocean, continuing the cycle. Earth’s rotation spins the system. Hurricanes produce violent winds, torrential rain, storm surges (causing 90% of hurricane deaths), flooding, and tornadoes.

For northern-hemisphere hurricanes, the most dangerous region is the right side relative to travel direction because of the additive effect of steering winds and counter-clockwise hurricane winds. The right side has the heaviest rainfall and spawns the most tornadoes.

Hurricane season runs June through November. Major hurricanes striking the US were more frequent 1940-1970 than 1970-2000. Hurricanologists think Atlantic hurricane frequency is now increasing. Last century, 24 hurricanes surpassed $1 billion damage. Already this century, at least 25 hurricanes have exceeded that figure.

Hurricane Benefits

Too few hurricanes would be as harmful as too many. Hurricanes are essential for planetary temperature balance, releasing solar heat from oceans and diverting heat from the tropics. In oceans hurricanes prevent CO2 buildup which could lead to global cooling.

Many regions depend on major storms for water. Bringing 6-12 inches of rain, hurricanes relieve drought. Hurricanes prune old growth with winds and lightning fires, making room for new plants. Lightning fixes nitrogen in soil, fertilizing it. Hurricanes significantly enhance marine chlorophyll along continental shelves.

A hurricane releases daily heat energy that’s 200 times earth’s electrical generating capacity. Could man harness and store hurricane energy someday for beneficial use?

After Eden teachable moment

Hurricane Theology

Natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes stagger humanity with destruction, suffering, and death. Does an all-powerful, loving God intentionally send hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis? Or does He wish they didn’t happen?

Biblical response to disaster includes compassion, assistance, and God’s truth (Isaiah 45:7).

The same day Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti in October 2016, a representative of the Christian Relief Fund wrote, “Our team is already on the ground distributing clean water and food and working to provide immediate shelter for those who have been displaced.”

Many churches and Christian schools in Florida and North Carolina promptly opened their doors as shelters for Hurricane Matthew victims, with believers rallying to provide food, bedding, and other immediate needs.

The first “boots on the ground” after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were compassionate Christians. World magazine reported 9,000 Southern Baptists from 41 states contributed 120,000 workdays serving 10,000,000 meals and boosting recovery. Salvation Army personnel served 5,000,000 hot meals from 11 field kitchens. Christian agencies, megachurches, and small congregations embodied Christian compassion with shelter, clothing, and food — often including Bibles and prayer.

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) is one of the three largest disaster relief providers in the U.S. It is ready to immediately spring into action to assist victims of Hurricane Florence. SBDR plans to repair storm damage as well as to provide food, water, shower and laundry units, and other needed supplies. SBDR chainsaw teams will clean up fallen trees and storm debris. SBDR will also send out trained volunteer teams to remove mud and flood debris from homes, repair water damage, and kill mold caused by standing water.

Why do catastrophes happen? The reason is sin — we live in a broken world (Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 8:20-22). Nonetheless, God has a clear purpose for catastrophes.

How did Jesus answer when asked about tragedy? His astounding answer was that catastrophes — like the Siloam Tower collapse killing eighteen and Pilate’s Galilean massacre — are warnings to repent:
Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5).

Jesus was echoing God’s words to Solomon:
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land, or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)

God sends famine, drought, blight, plague, storms, floods, and war — to call mankind to repentance (Amos 4:6-11).
I killed your young men with the sword…yet you did not return to Me,” declares the Lord.

Who sent Noah’s Flood? Who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah? Who inflicted plagues on Egypt? Who sent Assyria and Babylon to chastise Israel and Judah? Who sent Jesus to the cross (Acts 2:23)?

Many times I told my children, “Don’t waste your discipline. Learn the lesson so you won’t have to repeat the discipline.” Most people waste catastrophes — they miss God’s message. Either they babble nonsense about the power of nature, or they curse God and refuse to repent (Revelation 16:9,11,21).

People usually miss and ignore God’s message in natural disasters. According to Jesus, the message of tragedy is, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5) The proper response to calamity is repentance.

Why expect good weather? If everything developed via random evolutionary processes, catastrophic weather should be the norm. Expectations of good weather presuppose a benevolent weather Controller. Last century only 24 of 5200 weeks saw hurricanes of $1 billion damage. Do we thank God for good weather?

The God who “hurled a great wind on the sea” to drive Jonah to repentance orchestrates all weather (Jonah 1:4; Psalm 107:29; Zechariah 10:1). Matthew, Mark, and Luke report Christ stopped a storm so severe that veteran sailors trembled for their lives, gasping in awe, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25)

God controls all creation, from sparrow deaths (Matthew 10:29), to storm paths (Job 37:9-13), to rulers’ rise and fall (Isaiah 40:23-24; Daniel 2:21,37-38,44; 4:17,32).

Hurricanes are God’s merciful megaphones to get man’s attention. The crucial message of every calamity is “Repent and follow Christ.

The God who “hurled a great wind on the sea”
to drive Jonah to repentance
controls all creation — from sparrow deaths,
to storm paths, to rulers’ rise and fall.

What Hurricanes Cannot Destroy

People scramble to safeguard life and property against hurricanes, but neglect essential preparation — repentance for sin and commitment to Jesus Christ.

Eventually life and property will be destroyed anyway (Hebrews 9:27; 2 Peter 3:7,10-12). Prepare for life’s hurricanes by turning to Jesus Christ. The gain is eternal life which hurricanes cannot destroy.

The greatest tragedy of history, the Crucifixion, provided reconciliation with God. Christ died for my sins and gave me eternal life. Why fear hurricanes, bad-hair days, or anything else?

Questions to Ponder

1. Have you allowed the reports of Hurricane Florence to work fresh repentance and reverence in your heart?
2. What personal benefits have you observed following your own life’s disasters?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday September 12, 2018 A.D.

“But I gave you also cleanness of teeth in all your cities
And lack of bread in all your places,
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord.
“Furthermore, I withheld the rain from you
While there were still three months until harvest.
Then I would send rain on one city
And on another city I would not send rain;
One part would be rained on,
While the part not rained on would dry up.
So two or three cities would stagger to another city to drink water,
But would not be satisfied;
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord.
“I smote you with scorching wind and mildew;
And the caterpillar was devouring
Your many gardens and vineyards, fig trees and olive trees;
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord.
“I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt;
I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses,
And I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils;
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord.
“I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze;
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord.
(Amos 4:6-11 NASB)

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