Note: Mike Ward’s prayers were prepared before the war in Ukraine began, but the storms that assail us in these days and George Macleod’s words of trying to find God’s presence in the blackest of days, still apply.

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!” Douglas Adams, had he been alive today, would find life and deadlines a lot easier with the power of email. My first experience of writing was for a Scottish newspaper, with whom I had a weekly column. At the weekend I would bash out my piece on a typewriter (remember those?), drive to their office in Perth and hand in my piece before the Tuesday midday deadline – for publication three days later on the Friday. One beautiful sunny March weekend, I wrote a piece about the beauty of the daffodils in bud on the Perth Inches, “the flowers that bloom in the spring tra-la” to quote The Mikado and the promise of spring they convey.

Like everything I write it was instantly forgettable, but it would fill a space in the paper. Then, a day later, the worst floods for a century hit the Fair City. The newspaper offices were underwater. Sadly, my written piece survived. On the Friday, the newspaper published a “Floods Special” – 24 grim pages of graphic photos and stories of wrecked homes, human suffering and rescue. And tucked in among these apocalyptical photos, my piece about the beauty of spring flowers (now submerged under three feet of water). How I wish I had missed the deadline.

So to Storm Eunice. And Storm Franklin which is hitting Moreton now. (Deadlines again: by the time you read this, it will be Storm Gladys battering Trefeca.) As George Macleod wrote in one of his prayers, “in these last days storms have assailed us.” But he then went on to ask that God shows us “the glory in the grey.”

Patient lover give us love:
till every shower of rain speaks of Thy forgiveness:
till every storm assures us that we company with Thee:
and every move of light and shadow speaks of grave and resurrection.

(George Macleod)

It is easy to praise God when the sun is shining, and all is well in your world. Sooner or later in your life the storms will hit. And then? Like the Psalmist, we should praise God in the storm and never stop praising Him (Psalm 34 v 1).

Look for the glory in the grey today. We do not need the flowers that bloom in the spring; we need something beyond nature in all its fickle forms. Only God will keep us safe, calling us to heal his wounded creation.

God of winter storm and raging sea,
God of fragile earth and broken creation,
You are with me today.
I do not need to wait until after the storm to hear your voice.
Whatever will befall me today, you are there beside me.
Give me ears to listen and eyes to see what creation can never surpass:
The eternal God is my home in storm and in peace,
And underneath me are the everlasting arms.