Stormy Weather Shutdowns
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The snowstorm hit Chicago on a Saturday, and many of the people stranded at Chicago's O'Hare Airport didn't get out of there until Tuesday. That scene was not unique for O'Hare. I've sat in a plane on the runway for three hours just because brief thunderstorms went through. Maybe you've got some travel war stories like that. The fact is, O'Hare Airport is a hub for so many connecting flights to so many places. And because it's in the Midwest, it's near one of the Great Lakes and it can get hit with all kinds of weather, which sometimes shuts down one of the busiest airports in the world. Someone said, "When O'Hare sneezes, the whole airline system gets pneumonia." It's true that when bad weather makes the hub close down, nothing can get to where it needs to be.
Stormy weather doesn't just shut down airports. It can shut down people too. If you've been through a stormy time in your life recently, you know that tendency to sort of pull back, turn inward, and stop delivering what you usually deliver. And there's a problem with that. Just like O'Hare Airport in Chicago, you are a hub - you are a hub through whom God sends love and encouragement and leadership and help to the people around you. If bad weather shuts you down, the people around you are hurting.
In our word for today from the Word of God, Jesus is being battered by the most severe storms any human being has ever faced. He's in agony on a Roman cross, He's abandoned by most of the people He counted on. He's suffering unspeakable pain, physically and spiritually. Jesus has been for so many the hub through which God has sent His love into people's lives. Now, going through such awful turbulence and damage, will Jesus shut down?
John 19:25-27, "Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, 'Dear woman, here is your son,' and to the disciple, 'Here is your mother.' From that time on, this disciple took her into his home."
Here in the stormiest moment of His life, Jesus is still delivering God's love into people's lives. At a time when any of us would have been thinking about ourselves and the excruciating pain we were going through, Jesus is still thinking about the needs of others. Even then; even from the cross, He's thinking about His mother's needs. He's thinking about the needs of the man on the cross next to Him. He's calling for forgiveness for His executioners. With every reason to shut down, Jesus is still asking what He asked every day of His life, "Who needs Me here?"
And that is the model He's left for you and me, for those of us who have answered His invitation, "Follow me," - to still be delivering His love even when we're battered by the storm. When we're hurting, when we're tired, when we're stressed, our tendency is to think mostly about ourselves, isn't it? We go into survival mode, "Everybody get out of my way. I don't feel good," or "I'm really busy," or I'm really tired." And we get shut down, not by the storm, but by our self-centered, self-pitying response to the storm. Life is tough, so suddenly it's all about me.
But Jesus calls us, Jesus shows us something better, something higher - a more supernatural way to live, to draw on His grace, to keep giving out His love even when we feel battered, to keep giving out His encouragement, to keep delivering His word, to be all about others when I feel like being all about me; because I will find my life by giving it away.
See, you are a divine hub for delivering God's resources into people's lives. You can't just let that storm shut you down!
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