What a summer it’s been for Hawaii! Kilauea volcano began erupting on 3rd May. Lava flowed continuously until August 6, destroying over 700 homes. Tourism was also badly hit. Then Tropical Storm Lane brought flooding and mudslides. Now Hurricane Olivia is approaching. Nevertheless George D Szigeti, head of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, yesterday encouraged travellers from around the world to “come and enjoy the incredible diversity of landscapes and natural beauty to be explored on the island of Hawaii. The island is safe to visit, the air quality is good and, by coming here, travellers will be supporting community economies and helping residents with their recovery.”
More positively in Hawaii this summer, the Great Pacific Race™ came to a successful conclusion as three boats eventually crossed the finish line by the Diamond Head Lighthouse, Honolulu, after their crews had rowed nearly 3,000 miles from Monterey, California. (Two other teams retired during the race.) The first boat home was ‘Uniting Nations Row’ in a time of 49 days, 23 hours and 15 minutes. One of the four-man crew was Michael Prendergast, a 23 year old Scot, who became the youngest person in the world to row the Pacific Ocean. In second place was team ‘Pacific Terrific’, who set a new world record as the youngest team of three to row any ocean. In third place was team ‘Cockleshell Endeavour’, that is Mick Dawson and Steve Sparkes. Steve is the first blind person to row the Pacific.
Two thousand years ago, a group of men were sailing across a large Middle Eastern lake, when a storm began and the boat was nearly swamped by the waves. Despite the storm, one of their number was sleeping peacefully through it all. Afraid that they were going to drown, they woke Jesus up. He stood up and rebuked the wind and the waves. Immediately the wind died down and everything became calm. The men were shocked. “Who is this?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and the waves obey Him!”
Some people think very little of God, but the truth is that to our Creator nothing is impossible. He is all powerful; the One who calmed the storm also healed sick people and even raised the dead, and sometimes does the same today. Yet if this is the case, it’s only natural to ask the question, “Why doesn’t God step-in and stop all suffering straight away?” Of course, the scriptures tell us that indeed one day everything will be put right, and even now there are thousands of Jesus followers at work in the Third World alleviating pain, poverty and disease, but the real answer is deeper than that.
This world was once perfect in every way, but humanity decided to live independently from God, and in so doing the Creator’s perfect plan for this world was shattered. We now live in a broken world, which is only too obvious when we watch the news or when we deal with hurts and frustrations in our own lives. The amazing thing is that despite our rejection of our Creator, He is always with us, waiting for us to connect with Him and ready to turn our set-backs and difficulties into something good. (See UCB Radio’s ‘Word For You‘.)
Tonight is the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ at the Royal Albert Hall in London, where thousands will be singing, “Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves.” However, there is a far greater power, who not only rules the waves, but the earth and the universe too … and He is passionately interested in you and me!