Image of Jupiter from NASA/ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope, via Wikimedia Commons CC 4.0

Can storms be beautiful?

Yes, if you’re far enough away from them!

The most distinctive feature of the planet Jupiter, its Great Red Spot, is actually a massive storm.

Astronomers have been observing this maelstrom continuously since 1878, but it’s likely that it had been raging for centuries before that. The size of this storm is so vast that it could swallow the entire earth.

From a safe distance away here on earth, the Great Red Spot’s colourful swirls are beautiful, like marbled ice cream or the end papers of antique books. Jupiter’s storms appear to us like abstract art; indeed, images of them have appeared on everything from posters and ties to bedsheets and yoga mats.

But up close, they’re violent tempests, howling hurricanes of ammonia and water. Because Jupiter is a gaseous planet, there is no solid ground to dissipate the energy of these swirling vortexes, as would happen on earth when a hurricane makes landfall. At its edges, the Red Spots’s wind speeds can reach 270-425 mph (430-680 km/h), over twice the speed of even the most monstrous hurricane here on earth.

Do you feel like you’re in a storm like that right now?

Perhaps you’ve been enduring heartache, unemployment, illness, or loneliness.

Maybe it seems like the tempest has been raging in your life for years. Nothing seems to slow it down. From a distance, people can’t see how destructive it is to you.

The good news is that God offers hope to those in the midst of the storms of life.

“For You have been a refuge for the poor, a stronghold for the needy in distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat.” (Isaiah 25:4a)

God promises to be always be with us, to be a strong tower we can run to, and to never remove His love from us.

These next verses relate specifically to future blessings for Zion, but they show God’s compassionate heart for the troubled and His promise of a glorious restoration.

“ ‘Though the mountains may be removed and the hills may be shaken, My loving devotion will not depart from you, and My covenant of peace will not be broken,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you. ‘O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires.’ ” (Isaiah 54:10-11)

When facing storms in life, turn to God for help.

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by.” (Psalm 57:1)
Image by Tom from Pixabay

Above all, anchor your life to the sure foundation of Jesus. As Scripture demonstrates, He knows a thing or two about tempests. There are two accounts in the New Testament in which Jesus miraculously calmed the winds and the waves of a physical storm on a lake.

He can also help us through metaphorical storms. If we trust in Christ and follow his teachings, He promises that our spiritual “house” will not be swept away.

“The rain fell, the torrents raged, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because its foundation was on the rock.” (Matthew 7:25)

And what about Jupiter’s Giant Red Spot? Turns out, it’s not so giant anymore.

Scientists studying images from the Hubble Space Telescope say that the storm has been shrinking in recent decades. They suggest that the largest storm in our solar system could disappear in as little as twenty years, leaving behind only a memory of its ferocity.

Your storm won’t last forever, either!

© 2023 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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