We all deal with high pressure zones

Published 1:57 am Saturday, September 22, 2018


Last week, like many of you, I was watching the Weather Channel to see what they were saying about Hurricane Florence.  I was struck by the fact that it was going to be held in place, once it landed, by two high pressure zones, one to the north, and one to the west.  And, sure enough, they got it right!  Florence came ashore and sat there and dumped a historic amount of rain.

As the week developed, I was struck by the fact we all have to deal with high pressure zones in our lives. Last week, for me, was a time for remembering.  It was the anniversary of September 11, 2001, when our nation faced a high-pressure zone.  That is one of those times in history we will all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when the planes hit the World Trade Center and the other plane crashed in Pennsylvania.  Our nation was under high pressure and we came together as a people like I have never witnessed.

Last week was also the anniversary of the fall of the financial giant Lehman Brothers.  That led to the collapse of our economy in 2008.  Many lost their jobs.  Many lost their homes.  Many are still trying to recover from that economic crisis.  That disaster created a high-pressure zone for our whole country. We still haven’t fully recovered, but we are making progress.

On September 15, 1963, our country faced another high-pressure zone when a racially motivated bombing killed four African-American girls at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.  Ironically, the sermon that day was to be “The Love That Forgives,” based on Matthew 5:43-44.  That day we came face-to-face with the realism that we were a divided nation.  That was a high-pressure zone that I will never be able to forget.

Last week our good friends, Revs. Ed and Alecia Glaize, lost their son to an automobile accident.  Linda and I spent a good bit of time with them as they faced their high-pressure zone.  Their grief will be slow-moving because of the nature of their high-pressure zone.

For me, watching the devastation of hurricane Florence, remembering painful events in our national history, and seeing the hurt in two dear friends, it was a sad, sad, week. I have clung to the words of that great old hymn, “Stand By Me”.

When the storms of life are raging, stand by me.
When the storms of life are raging, stand by me.
When the world is tossing me, like a ship upon the sea,
Thou who rulest wind and water, stand by me.

In the midst of tribulation, stand by me.
In the midst of tribulation, stand by me.
When the host of hell assail, and my strength begins to fail.
Thou who never lost a battle, stand by me.
In my sadness, I have clung to the 23rd Psalm, verse 4: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the Shadow of Death…”, I have been reminded that it takes two mountain peaks to create a valley.  That is a reminder that no matter how deep our valley, no matter how strong the high-pressure zone, God gives us twice as many highs as lows!  Thanks be to God for His infinite love, mercy, and grace!

Friends, we have much to pray about.  May we pray for our nation and our leaders.  May we pray for the healing of our nation, our church, our world, and our planet.  May we pray for those suffering from the storms, both natural and storms of life, and may we pray for one another.
Dr. Tim Trent is superintendent of the Pensacola District of the United Methodist Church, and the former pastor for First United Methodist Church – Andalusia. This column first appeared in the district newsletter.