The storm within the storm
As I sit here starting week three of quarantine, during the covid19 pandemic of 2020, many thoughts and emotions are swirling around in my head, mini storms inside of a larger storm we are all a part of.
However, last week we literally had a storm here in West Georgia. I was inside the all metal building that houses our ministries resale boutique, doing a few things to prepare for the week. When I left home a “severe thunderstorm warning” had popped up on my phone, but having been through previous warnings here in Georgia, I was not that concerned. Especially since it was early in the day before the heat of the afternoon could really reek havoc. And as I looked at the sky, it was gray but not the black sky that usually accompanies a warning, so I went on about my plans to get a few things done.
With the structure being all metal, the sound of the rain can be deafening at times, so when I started to hear the rain, I thought nothing of it, but as I looked out the windows at the entrance to our building, I saw cars stopping on the side of the road and in an instant everything changed – I have never experienced what happened that morning. The wind and rain were so heavy, I could not see my car parked feet from the front door and I was scared that the building was literally going to blow away, then I heard an incredible crash and a bright flash of light quickly filled the sky, power flickered on and off for a minute and then all I could hear and see was my heart pounding through my chest and tears of fear filling my eyes and running down my cheeks. The glass doors, that were locked at the time, were forced open about 2 inches by the pressure of the wind from outside. Items that were loose outside, were blowing around our parking lot, cars were still stopped on the side of the road and then when they began to move again, were forced to turn around because of fallen debris and power lines and poles, just a couple of hundred feet from our entrance. Then just as quickly as the storm had come, it went, not having a care in the world at the mark it had made when it passed through our beloved city.
As I went out to assess any damage that had been done to our building, and I knew that there had to be some based on what I had heard and seen, there was not a mark, no debris, nothing that would have made one believe a storm had just passed over. However, every piece of property around us had damage, from the gas station next door whose sign was blown apart to unrecognizable pieces, to the restaurant behind us that had a couple of pieces of their façade blown off, to the woods next door to us that had trees snapped in two, yet not a thing on our building was touched. I felt at that moment, His presence, His peace, and His assurance, that as we walk through the storms of life, He has every detail and so grateful for a team that is constantly in prayer over our ministry and building.
After I composed myself, and felt it safe to leave to go home, I was in shock at the amount of damage done in and around our little dot on a map and the number of trees that had succumbed to the pressure of the wind, but even more surprising, that with the amount of damage, not a single person was hurt. Shocked at how many trees had fallen and had either completely missed buildings or left minimal damage, or landed on buildings that were vacant, and how in the midst of the chaos of covid, a city quickly came together to clean up the mess, to take “checking on your neighbor” to a new level, to get generators for those without power, to cranking up chainsaws to remove trees from roadways, to making sure people had what they needed and were ok.
This storm in the storm brought to mind a couple of things. Nature knows not what is currently happening to the human race, the stress most of us feel. The tug on our emotions like we have never experienced before. The extreme of either being told to stay safely in our homes with not much to do, giving time for our feelings and emotions to run rampant, or being so busy with essential jobs on the frontline, that there is weariness beyond comprehension. There does not seem to be a middle ground, yet nature has not stopped doing what it does. The birds still singing and nest building, the sun still rising and setting, the ants still doing what they do, the grass still growing, the tide still ebbing and flowing, the storms still brewing, the flowers and trees still blooming, and above all, God is still in control.
It has also brought an empathy that I did not know I could possess, because when I have been confronted with someone else’s storm, illness, job loss, death of a loved one, damage from a natural disaster, for example, and I am not directly affected, except to be praying for someone, it does not stop my world. But when a storm happens within the storm that an entire nation, and even world is experiencing, it brings a new depth of understanding, a range of emotions I did not know I could feel, a chance to live out what I say I believe when it comes to my relationship with Jesus Christ, a chance to be bold and obedient in my faith, whose sacrifice we remember and who resurrection we celebrate this week and choosing to share that Good News.
Will I take this time to see Him in EVERYTHING?
As I reflect on the hedge of protection He had on our building, on our home, on the homes of our friends, neighbors and community last week during the storm that came through. To see that He got us through that one, what would make me believe He won’t get us through the bigger storm, that is engulfing our world, or other storms that people are encountering right now, above and beyond covid19? While there are many places we can focus our thoughts and attention, to find answers, from social media, to the news, to our leaders, and while we should live informed, we should not be transformed by anything but the Truth of God’s Word and what He says and Who He is.
Mark 4:39-40 “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to His disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’”
What I love about this scripture, it speaks directly to our human nature, that those that were physically with Jesus, in the boat, that had witnessed His power, His love, His desire for the human race to believe, still had doubts.
He knows we struggle, yet He never stops pursuing us.
He knows we doubt, yet He never stops loving us.
He knows we question, yet He never stops giving grace.
He knows we will make mistakes, yet He never stops forgiving us.
He has gotten us through 100% of the storms we have been in, even storms within the storms. Now is the time to lean in even more to Him, who loved us enough to die for us, put us on the planet at this time in history, knowing where we would be in the spring of 2020 because He had us in mind to be the ones to speak to His faithfulness during a time that will forever be etched in history. Let’s not miss our opportunity to make His name famous in the midst of the storm within the storm!
You are loved!!!!