Blustering and fussing
across the Gulf,
churning wind and waves,
devouring the warmth
of the water below,
spinning into a web
of unknown destruction.
Pulled relentlessly to the land
that will end its life,
but not before
it has left its mark –
Landscape forever changed.
As I write, I am watching the encroachment of Hurricane Michael on the Florida Panhandle – my home. Most of my family have chosen to move well inland, but some remain close to its projected path of destruction. We pray for their safety and watch the Weather Channel, wondering about impact and clean up and repair.
For now, this moment, the storm is our life. It is what we think about, talk about, watch. We are immersed in its surge, even as we realize we have no control over its path or its outcome.
Storms define us. In life we are always headed into a storm, battling a storm, or recuperating from a storm’s impact. We remember when dad’s heart attack struck, the disturbing fall, the car accident, the job loss, the loved one’s death, and we are still in some phase of recuperation from the storm because the landscape of this life has been forever changed by its power.
Storms can devastate, or storms can result in positive changes. Hurricanes bring needed rain; they rid us of diseased plant and tree growth, they cleanse the land, even as they disrupt life as we know it. In our lives, trials can result in increased compassion, empathy, a sense of purpose, a mission, increased faith, a greater focus on the important over the trivial.
What makes the difference? What allows the hurricane of life to strengthen us rather than destroy us? For me, it is the absolute certainty that my times are in God’s hand (Psalm 31:15).
The storms I face are no surprise to God. While the effects of sin on this world ensure that trials will come, the unchanging omnipotent character of God ensures that He will bring me through and provide the needed strength to deal with the resulting changes, no matter how difficult. He is the safe shelter in the threatenings of life. He remains in control.
After the Storm –
The sun came up on a landscape forever changed. Michael has come and gone, and the resulting devastation is incomprehensible. Lives lost, homes destroyed, livelihoods demolished. One would think that the storm won, but…
people are rallying together;
supplies are being provided;
clean-up crews are hard at work;
families are being cared for;
love is being shared;
linemen are on the job, nonstop;
churches are serving, without their buildings;
the hands and feet of Jesus are at work.
Life continues as people search for a new normal. Priorities are in place as we focus on shelter, food, family, care.
The road ahead is a long haul. We will work together. Gradually, we will move past the storm. We will survive and thrive through the grace of God.
Lamentations 3: 21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.