Sign up for Meridian’s Free Newsletter, please CLICK HERE
The other day I heard someone refer to a whirlwind, but they pronounced it “world wind.” And I found myself thinking how apt this invented word actually is: The storm we’re in is monumental in scale, and actually does sweep across the entire world. It’s a storm of fury and opposition to religion, a tempest of temptation, an angry force which requires every one of us to take a stand. But can we do it? Can we fight a virtual tornado that’s sweeping through our lives?
Whirlwinds fascinate us. We stare at even a minor dust devil and wonder how it got started, how it keeps spinning, and what makes it finally stop. Major whirlwinds account for deaths and damage all over the globe, and we’ve all seen heartbreaking footage of buildings, animals, vehicles, and people being thrown into the air like toothpicks when such storms hit.
So I wasn’t surprised to see numerous suggestions about how to subdue such a storm and save lives, in researching online. But I was astounded at the incredible variety of ideas people have, theories about ways to stop a twister in its tracks.
First, you must understand the basics of how funnels form. When a supercell thunderstorm starts to spin, it reacts with other winds, and a shaft begins to form and spin as well. But weather conditions have to be exactly right, with a cold, rainy downdraft and a warm updraft.
Most of the suggestions are implausible, though brainstorming could lead to one of these hypotheticals becoming reality one day. The ideas I saw included sound disruption (like when a singer can break a glass with her voice), bombs, heating the cold downdraft with a solar-powered microwave beam from a satellite to control the weather, spraying oil over seawater to prevent evaporation and weaken hurricanes, using jet contrails to affect temperature swings, and even diverting the path of a cyclone with a giant mirror that reflects the sun’s energy. None of these are in use, but research continues.
All this energy and study made me wonder: Do we put that much effort into battling the storm of Satan’s forces that want to trip us up? Surely his impact is more deadly than the physical storms we confront; Lucifer would destroy our very souls, not just our bodies and our belongings. The Doctrine and Covenants tells us of wars and rumors of wars, the voice of thunderings, all things being in commotion, men’s hearts failing them, and more. But do we go to the whiteboard, so to speak, and try to come up with a formula to combat Lucifer?
I think we can learn several things from earthly storm fighters. Every one of them agrees that it’s better to prevent a storm, than to stop one after it has started. How true this is of addictions, angry explosions, bad choices that hurt us and others, literally every harmful move within our control. So, like the old expression, “Be smart—don’t start” we can avoid those situations that are particularly tough for us. If drinking tempts you, don’t go to a bar. Don’t hang out with friends who constantly party. Take steps to protect yourself from areas where you know you’re vulnerable. Just as a smart general shores up areas of vulnerability in a war, so can we add extra armor, including loved ones to help us, where we need it.
Next, just as scientists research storm formation, learn how the adversary works. There’s no better manual for learning the tactics of this enemy than The Book of Mormon. Its pages are filled with examples of Satan’s attempts to thwart God’s plan. Over and over we see those who foolishly succumb and also those who triumph over evil. These lessons apply exactly to our struggles today.
What about disrupting a storm? Have you ever intervened when two people were quarreling, to separate opposing forces and restore peace? We can consciously make this effort to calm harsh voices, to work toward solutions, and to build bridges. Interfaith outreach is a perfect example of setting aside differences to work toward common goals. But we can also do this within the walls of our homes, at school, and at the workplace.
Do we need extreme solutions, sometimes? We do. Maybe we need to put our child in a safer school. Or quit a job where illegal activity is going on. Or fight for peace over tyranny. I recall a church video that depicted a porn addict throwing out his computer. Or someone tired of corruption who chooses to run for office. Perhaps we need to forgive someone and take them in our arms. That doesn’t sound like a giant bomb going off, but the impact could be life-changing. Sometimes when something huge is causing destruction, we need the courage to try a solution that’s equally vast.
How about heating a cold downdraft? What if we can diffuse enemies with love and even humor? Can we change the “weather” by refusing to fuel a brewing storm? Can we offer help to someone who has always been bitter and nasty? Sometimes we really can calm hostility by showing compassion and charity.
I thought about the notion of reflecting the sun’s energy, and how that might work on a spiritual level. Can we reflect the Son’s energy? By taking His name upon us—which we do every time we partake of the Sacrament—we pledge to do this. We wear his name. We try as best we can to do what Jesus would do. And that means we sometimes have to make bold, difficult choices in standing for right and defending the underdog. Sometimes we have to risk rejection and unpopularity.
I think about what President Russell M. Nelson said recently: “It is precisely because we do care deeply about all of God’s children that we proclaim his truth. We may not always tell people what people want to hear. Prophets are rarely popular. But we will always teach the truth.”
By following our leaders we can safely navigate this stormy world. They will stand as beacons of light in the swirling darkness of confusion that blankets the earth.
During my cancer battle of the last couple of years I’ve been given some inspiring quotes and one of them applies perfectly here: “Don’t tell God how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your God is.” This is exactly the right approach. When we choose to be on God’s side, we enlist His help to form an unstoppable team. Only then can we truly defeat the forces of evil, and we can do it worldwide.
Hilton’s newest work, A Little Christmas Prayer, is destined to become a Christmas classic. This tale, for any reader of any faith, teaches us all the magic of gratitude. All her books and Youtube Mom videos can be found on her website. She currently serves as an Interfaith Specialist for Public Affairs.