By 1889 Civil war had been brewing in Samoa for several years. This was largely the result of heavy-handed tactics by the Germans who had exiled the old Samoan king Malietoa Laupepa and had installed their own choice for king, Tamasese. Resentment rose even higher when a German gunboat shelled a Samoan village for not paying taxes.
The world was outraged, especially America, who was determined to limit German influence in the area. The United States quickly dispatched three gunboats to match the three German warships in harbor. Demands and threats were hurled by both sides. Things came to a flashpoint in March of 1889 and open war seemed inevitable.
But something happened – Samoa was struck by a devastating typhoon. On March 17, 1889, a typhoon of great magnitude hit Samoa, damaging or destroying all six warships and killing about 150 of the sailors.
But the typhoon had an undeniable “bright side” as well. It prevented a war between Germany and America. In fact, the storm hit the two powers so hard that the opposing commanders reconciled and joined together in rescue and recovery efforts. And, after the storm had passed, they conducted joint memorial services on the Samoan Islands for those sailors on both sides who had perished. All talk of war ended and the two countries agreed to a joint protectorate for the Samoan Islands. Something as evil and destructive as a typhoon had brought about peace when man was incapable of doing so.
Many times the adversity that we condemn as evil is “heaven sent.” Tragedy, disappointment and failure hit us like a knockout punch. But as much as the pain hurts us, it protects us from a greater evil.
Consider the story of Joseph. Joseph was rejected and sold as a slave by his brothers, unjustly imprisoned, and abandoned in prison by friends. A terrible evil, you say? But Joseph came to understand that all which others had done to him with evil intent, God had blessed and turned around to bring about good (Genesis 50:20). God turned Joseph’s curses into blessings (Deuteronomy 23:5). He can do the same for us all.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, please guide and direct my life and help me to yield to your holy will. By your love, wisdom, and power, please turn my curses into blessings, my hurts into halos, and my scars into stars. Amen.