Dozens killed as ferocious hailstorms devastate south-western China
"Gales and hailstorms have killed at least 39 people and left hundreds injured in southwest and central China. The hailstorms and ferocious winds hit Dianjiang and Liangping counties near the south-west Chinese city of Chongqing on Wednesday night and continued throughout yesterday. Twenty-nine residents were killed and 980 residential buildings destroyed in the region."
Not your average hailstorm
A sunny Sunday afternoon quickly turned to a damaging event across Oklahoma City as a supercell tracked to the southeast from Northwestern Oklahoma, producing hail to the size of softballs along its path. In what may go down as the costliest and most damaging hail storm in Oklahoma City history, thousands of cars and homes were damaged, with many windows and roofs completely destroyed. Not even the TV stations that alert us to impending severe weather were safe, as KFOR lost nearly all of their skylights as they were reporting on the storm, with hail and rain falling into the studio.
Here is a youtube video of the storm, at about 2 minutes it gets really intense. The pool gets whitecaps and looks like it's being bombed, with wavelets 2 feet high spraying everywhere.
In another report, "The storm Sunday afternoon brought hail as large as softballs and driving rain, forcing motorists off roads in an effort to avoid shattered windshields and other damage. The storm produced so much hail, it looked like a snowstorm had hit."
Now, a hailstorm by itself is not an indicator of the Lord's wrath nor of His imminent return. However, when the news states that it was THE worst hailstorm ever for that city, one takes notice. God uses hail to demand attention, it is one of His signature calling cards. It behooves us to return to the bible to see when and how He uses hail to make His name known.
God has storehouses of hail (Job 38:22). He uses hail as a just warning to those who refuse to acknowledge Him, notably Pharaoh. "Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields--both men and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree." (Exodus 9:25) Initially awed by God's power, Pharaoh acknowledged that he had sinned. However when the rain and hail stopped, He sinned again. God specifically used a massive hailstorm to indicate His power over the earth, and to know that the earth is the LORD'S. Pharaoh did not acknowledge God’s sovereignty.
God uses hail to warn the unrepentant to come back to Him. " 'I smote you and every work of your hands with blasting wind, mildew and hail; yet you did not come back to Me,' declares the LORD." (Haggai 2:17).
He uses hail to render justice upon the wicked. "I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place." (Isaiah 28:17). In one example, the LORD hurled hail down onto the Amorites at Azekah, as a vengeance against the wicked (Joshua 10:11)
It is evident that from His storehouses of hail God has used it for a variety of reasons and will use hail for the same reasons again. Job's verse continues from this "Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, "Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?" The 'Time of Jacob's Trouble' is also known as the Tribulation, (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:15-22 ) and the Revelation verse is the one that promises another plague of hail, one most especially severe with hailstones weighing a hundred pounds.
Terrible hail storms have always been and will be part of God's language to an unrepentant and wicked people. Was the hail storm in Oklahoma City and in China His warning to us? Could be. We look to the bible and see such warnings many times over in the past so we would be remiss is we did not at least let the thought into our mind that He may be speaking again right now. Are you listening?