The storm last week caused significant damage in some areas of Melbourne, particularly in the Dandenongs. Trees that appeared to be strong and healthy crashed to the ground, sometimes destroying homes, belongings, cars and roads. The clean-up will take some time and some families are still without power, six days after the event.
In the area where I live, a number of branches broke and a few trees came down. Gum trees may look strong, but sometimes there are weaknesses that only a storm will expose. Palm trees, on the other hand, rarely break – they may bend, but not break. That is a good metaphor for life, for we all will face unexpected storms. We may bend because of the pressures, but may we not break.
I am inspired by the example of former AFL player and Patron for Fight MND Neale Daniher AO, who has obviously been bent by motor neurone disease, but it has not broken him. He is thus a most worthy recipient of the this week’s Queen’s Birthday awards, when he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia.
For 2000 years, the life of Jesus has also inspired people to keep pressing on whilst encountering the storms of life. He offers his grace and strength to sustain us, so that when the storm is over we will still be standing.
After the storm has passed, the palm tree will resume its position and, in fact, within a short time, the root system will be even stronger. Thus, the storm has actually been a means of strengthening the palm tree. That is the best outcome for us as well – to be strengthened as a result of the storm.
God’s peace and grace to you all,
Senior School Chaplain