As usual, great weather events bring out the Christian crazies, like those proclaiming that Hurricane Sandy is God's judgment ("God sent the whirlwind. Thank God for righteous judgment," said one) against (pick one) homosexuals, pornography, materialism, secularism, Darwinism, and so on and so forth. But I'm not linking to these statements because, well, you've got better things to do with your time than read sub-Christian, one might even say nonchristian, theology.

Granted when storms do appear in the Old Testament, they are often seen as God's act of judgment, to prod repentance. The classic case is when Egypt was bombarded with hail and lightning so Pharoah would know God was in charge. Pharoah indeed was temporarily scared into faith, but as soon as the storm ceased,"the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go" (Ex. 9:35).

Then again, a storm at sea convinces Jonah he has been disobedient (Jonah 2), and when God speaks out of a tornado (Job 38-41), Job repents in dust and ashes for his insolence (Job 42:6).

Starting with Jesus, though, a different calculus is at work in the Bible, as we might expect. Whereas in Exodus, the storm itself is said to show the sovereign power of God, in the Gospel of Mark, it is Jesus stilling of the storm that demonstrates, as the disciples put it, here is one whom even the wind and seas obey (Mark 4:41). In the midst of the storm, we do not find Jesus claiming it is the judgment of God against the sin of Israel. Nor does Paul revert to that way of thinking when he finds himself in a storm on sea. Instead, he says no one need be afraid, because God will rescue one and all (Act 27:22).

An even more startling ...

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