Storm Warning 

Storm Ophelia is about to hit Northern Ireland later today and we are bracing ourselves for 80mph winds, heavy rain and major disruption. I know this might sound like ‘small fry’ to readers in other parts of the world who have experienced much harsher weather conditions in recent months; but this is predicted to be the worst storm to hit Ireland in thirty years and a ‘red’ weather warning has been announced, the highest possible. 

It was announced late last night that all schools are to be closed today so the kids, of course, are delighted. I have spent the morning outdoors storing away the garden furniture, plant pots and any other objects that might take off when the winds take hold. Fionnuala is currently at the supermarket so that we are stocked up with  everything we need for the next 24 hours. Then it is just a matter of sitting tight and hoping for the best.

The Northern Irish are not very good when it comes to extreme weather. The lightest of snow coverings and the country seemingly grinds to a halt; heavy rain seems to cause flooding no matter how prepared the authorities tell us they are this time; and once the temperature dips below zero we become gibbering wrecks. This is all the stranger given that one of the most popular topics of conversation is the weather. In fact if it wasn’t for the weather I would struggle to hold a conversation with some people. 


When all else fails we can ramble on about what a bad summer we are having; when the conversation hits a lull there is always the latest forecast to fill in the gaps. We are a country obsessed with the weather yet we are totally unprepared when Mother Nature flexes her muscles and ups the ante a notch or two. The first snowfall of the year in this country evokes scenes straight out of ‘The Day After Tomorrow’. We are a strange breed and Storm Ophelia has done nothing to convince me otherwise.

This time around I have been most surprised by the nonchalance and naivety of a considerable proportion of the population. Many people have commented that the authorities are overreacting by closing the schools and we have gone ‘health and safety’ mad. This baffles me. Are you seriously saying you don’t have an issue sending your child to school knowing that later in the day they are going to have to make their way home in hurricane force winds? Personally we won’t take that risk with our kids.

People can be so arrogant and full of their own self importance. It annoys me and I pray for the patience to deal with such folk. This ‘it will never happen to me’ attitude is prevalent in our society today. Yet when it does it becomes a case of blaming anyone except the person who should shoulder the responsibility – ourselves. We blunder through our lives too proud or ignorant to ignore the numerous storm warnings that flash before our eyes. That person is bad for you? Nah, I know better. Maybe you should cut down on the alcohol/cigarettes/whatever your vice is?Nah I know better. 

And when it all comes crumbling down we come running looking for sympathy and babbling excuses. But by then it is too late. We ignore the voice on our head advising us otherwise. I have been as guilty of this as anyone. Call it your conscience, call it your inner voice, call it (as I do) a nudge from God we ignore it. And walk into the latest storm to envelop our lives utterly exposed and unprepared for what lies ahead. We don’t learn from our mistakes. We live in circles of sorrow, our own personal Groundhog Days of grief.

I screwed up yesterday. I let bitterness and unforgiveness get the better of me. I ignored the warning signs and thought I knew best. Afterwards I talked it through with Fionnuala, acknowledged my failings and resolved I would be better prepared the next time I was placed in such a situation. I hope today that you can learn from your past mistakes and when the next potential storm barrels into your life you are ready and willing to hear and act upon the warning signs.

Proverbs 8:1 – ‘Does wisdom not call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?’

Have you ever ignored a storm warning and paid the price?

How do you deal with the storms of life?

53 thoughts on “Storm Warning 

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  1. Stay safe. I’ve been through 2 hurricanes in my life…Katrina and Wilma, both in 2005 when I was living in South Florida. Very scary, but they tend to pass quickly. Katrina was a massive rain storm more than anything. The aftermath sucks….not having power, traffic lights not working, etc.

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  2. Heaven knows if I could have prepared for this storm…I should have known better, and if I hadn’t ignored that nudge. So now I have to shoulder my responsibility and pray without ceasing.

    Stay safe! I have lived in areas where snow can close things (because it gets serious), but in Maryland people panic about the tiniest of flake as well. It’s quite funny, really.

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    1. It’s due to hit us in about two hours but the whole country is shutting down basically. All the schools and businesses have closed. I hope your situation is improving and you have the right support around you that you need.

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          1. Haha. I always hoped for snow days when I was in school (and even teaching). I knew I had homework, but there was something about reading or writing for pleasure as it was snowing… I like the idea of hunkering down and writing. (Um, safely. I mean, evacuate the hurricane. Haha.)

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  3. I will be praying that you all stay safe during the storm! I live on the East Coast of the US and we see our share of storms from time to time. You’re doing the right thing by preparing early. I always say it’s better to prepare and be cautious then to regret not having done anything if the storm DOES hit. Better to be safe than sorry!

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  4. Be safe, y’all! I’ll be praying for you. Great post today. One time, my mom went to church when there were tornado warnings, and after church she couldn’t get home and there were tornado watchers in the church parking lot! At home, the rest of us survived a mild tornado, but we were pretty worried about her. Thankfully, she was fine!

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  5. I can only tell you that I have been praying since hearing that Ophelia headed toward Ireland. I can assure you that our LORD JESUS AND FATHER GOD were ever present and blessed me and those around me with peace and comfort during our ordeal. I pray for your deliverance and sustenance throughout your trial.

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  6. Just wishing you all a safe passage through Storm Ophelia as we sit tight here in County Armagh.
    All family are home and safe.
    We have had the generator on as the mains power has been out.
    Scary winds with the gusts really frightening.

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  7. Every since my since my sister told me of Ophelia heading your way, I have been praying for you and your family. I will continue to do so.
    This is a very good message. The power of self is a fierce adversary for the flesh, and an even deadlier enemy for the spirit. God loves y’all!

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  8. It’s been a crazy year for weather, I pray that you’re all safe and enjoying your storm party 🙂 Living in the Rocky Mountains we get a lot more than a flake of snow all winter long, and people joke that in other parts of the country we walk at angle because we’re so used to the crazy wind out here! I’ve never been through a hurricane, but I’ve seen my fair share of terrifying forest fires and lightning and thunderstorms. This summer, when we were in Iowa on missions we experience one such lightning and thunderstorm complete with tornado warnings. It was made worse by the fact that we were sleeping in a tent with a metal pole literally sticking up in the air at the center of it! I don’t think we slept at all that night, mostly just shivered and prayed! Every storm in life is different too, some of them I handle alright but most of the time I’m either facing it with prayer and/or counseling. How do you prepare for those spiritual battles that you’ll never see coming? The obvious answer is with prayer and being in God’s word, but as with everything in our broken world, it seems that in the middle of the storm it’s never that simple.

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