Withstanding the Strongest StormsFebruary 26, 2021 - 12:00 am
“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone,
but the righteous stand firm forever” — Proverbs 10:25
We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom who recently passed away, was a brilliant teacher who greatly inspired me. He had a way of conveying powerful lessons through stories from his life.
Rabbi Sacks once described his first experience building a sukkah, the temporary hut that Jews live in during the Feast of Tabernacles, the holiday also known as Sukkot. He described how his friend built a beautiful, sturdy, freestanding sukkah, while his own sukkah resembled a rudimentary box leaning against his house for support.
On the first night of the holiday, there was a fierce storm with hurricane force winds. When Rabbi Sacks saw his friend in synagogue the next day, his friend could hardly believe that Rabbi Sack’s sukkah still stood when his own strong sukkah had blown down in the storm. After examining Rabbi Sack’s sukkah, his friend concluded that even though it was flimsy, the one nail that attached the sukkah to the rabbi’s steady home held up the entire structure.
Withstanding the Strongest Storms
So, too, explained Rabbi Sacks, when we attach our lives to something stronger than we are — to God — we can withstand the strongest of storms. That one nail binding us to God is faith, and when our faith is strong, so are we.
In Proverbs we read, “When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” The wicked are destroyed by the storms of life. The Jewish sages compare them to a tree with weak roots. When conditions are pleasant, the tree stands and may even bear fruit. However, once the winds start to blow, the tree falls over and is no more. On the other hand, the righteous, who cultivate strong roots of faith, are able to weather any storm. No matter how strongly the wind may blow, when the storm passes, they remain standing.
Strong faith does not grow overnight. Rather, we need to cultivate our relationship with God and our trust in Him every day of our lives. Then, when we are faced with a challenge or a crisis that threatens to topple us, we can lean on God. He will hold us up and keep us strong no matter what may come our way.
Your turn: How do you cultivate faith? Daily prayer and Bible study are two tried-and-true ways to nurture our relationship with God. What other ways can you think of?