I am writing right now in the middle winter. Mind you, I shouldn’t mind ing in the middle of something a bit warmer, and a little less boisterous. Howwever, that’s how it is, rain, hail, sleet and snow, and believe it or not, huirricane force winds.
I remember some years ago we held our breath and listened to the frequent radio reports of a hurricane as it progressed from somewhere around Cuba, up the eastern seaboard of the U.S.A. I have never been in anything just like it. Winds of over 100 miles per hour. Not for the first time in my life, I was a bit scared. Things that ought not to have been flying were soaring into the air with gay abandon. Who would ever imagine a T.V. set flying at over 50 feet?!
Then there was the Saturday some years ago when we were enjoying a cut-price package holiday in a caravan at Costa Portrush, The sun was shining brightly that morning when it began to blow a hurricane We didn’t think much of it for a while. After all, we had weathered many a storm. But that morning it seemed to forget to switch off. The caravan began to rock, while plates and saucers left their parking places. The din was deafening. I tried to appear calm. Caravans, I said to myself, just don’t blow over, or do they? The answer was not long in coming. Having decided that discretion is the better part of valour, evacuation seemed the most discreet thing at the moment. This took place with an enthusiasm born of necessity.
I have many pleasant memories of my old Morris Minor. One hundred and forty-five thousand miles the clock said, when she and I said a fond farewell. Now getting backto that cliff- top emergency, the old car provided us with suitable shelter in the storm, which incidentally hadn’t lessened in its mad rush over land and sea. About 10 minutes after the evacuation, the caravan, caught by the full fury of a blast of air, more mighty than its brethren, decided that enough was enough and there it lay upon Its side. I congratulated myself for such prudent foresight as led to the evacuation, and decided we must leave the scene. By this time caravans were flying all over the place. One actually became airborne and was lifted by the wind from our site to another across the main road.
Now, having decided that anything resembling salvage operations in the prevailing weather conditions would be just a bit hazardous, we decided to go back home, which was, in those days, just about 20 miles away. ‘We’ll come back and get our stuff whenever the wind has died down,” I suggested. Well, as always happens, the wind blew itself out, and happy, not to have been blown out with it, we returned to the scene same hours later. The sun was still shining. Back on the site it looked as If a bomb had hit the place. There were caravans in all sorts of conditions. The scene was one of shambles. We went to the place where our caravan had been at 11 o’clock that morning. It should have been there, itwasn’t.Wherever could lt have gone?
Now the caravan site was very beautifully situated on top of a cliff. We had often stood on the, clifftop and watched the waves unfolding their white foam on the dark rocks beneath. It was a vantage point from which to drink in the golden rays of the sun as it went to rest like a huge ball of fire behind the distant horizon. However, that evening my thoughts of the North Antrim coast were confined to a missing caravan. Then, suddenly, there it was,or could those bits and pieces of plywood, wheels and chassis possibly be the caravan which had provided us with an opportunity to enjoy the delights of summer days by the sea. A scramble down the rocks and a closer examination confirmed that the conclusion arrived at on the cliff-top was, in fact, correct. We gathered the bits and pieces of our belongings together. Up the cliff, then down again for more until we felt we had salvaged most of what was ours.
Now whenever something like this happens to you, you always have an inquest. What went wrong? We might say it was the wind, and, of course, it was the wind. But then, ought it not to have withstood the storm? After all, other caravans were subjected to exactly the same winds and they had remained unmoved. The fact of the matter was simply that our caravan was supposed to be anchored to the earth by means of four anchors. I’m not sure that anchor is the right word. They were like large cork-screws and were twisted into the ground. One at each corner. Now they should have taken such a grip in the ground as to secure the caravan at all times. The trouble was that our caravan wasstanding upon sand and these cork- screws had been screwed into the sand and the grip was no match for the hurricane force winds.
It all reminds me of a story Jesus told in Matthew chapter 7. Two men built houses. One built upon rock, the other upon the sand. Like our caravan, the houses were subjected to extreme weather conditions. You name it, they had it. Wind, rain, flood. The sand couldn’t hold thefoolish man’s house. It fell and was a total wreck.
The Lord Jesus Christ offers himself to us as a sure and tried foundation. Storms will most certainly come, winds will blow and rivers will flood. The house of your character will be tested. It is of great importance that you should examine yourself and make sure that your anchor is embedded in the rock and not in the sand. “Built on the rock, the rock that ever stands,
Built on the rock, and not upon the sand;
You need not fear the storm, nor the earthquake shock,
You are safe for evermore if you build on the rock.”