Monday, April 16, 2007

Have You Been Through A Storm?

I grew up in Florida. In Florida we get hurricanes. When I was a small child, they tell me that a hurricane came through and I was sound asleep. The eye of the hurricane was passing through and my parents didn't think I should miss this experience so they woke me up. I have a memory of looking out one slat of the jalousie windows that were on the door on the side of the house...jalousie windows are those windows that have slats that open out with a crank handle...as I recall every other window in our home was boarded up, as you do when you are expecting a hurricane. But, by my memory, this one slat seemed to be our window out to see what was going on in the midst of the storm. Somehow as a small child in the comfort of my loving home, I felt safe and secure enough to want to sleep through a big, bad storm.

Through my years of living I have experienced many other weather related storms. Rain storms, snow storms, sleet, lightning, etc. Each storm had its own intensity. When we lived in Pennsylvania we had hail in some of the storms. Hail that caused some dents and dings in the siding on our house.

So when we moved back to Texas, I was prepared for the storms that can hit in this area. I was aware of the potential for tornadoes and aware that hail storms were possible. I am old enough and experienced enough that I could handle whatever storm came my way.


Or so I thought.

I thought that until this past Friday night.

All day they called for storms in our area. Hail likely, tornadoes possible. I was safe in my home when my husband called from work to say that the weatherman was reporting that the storm was heading my direction fast. Rain, hail, and possibly tornadoes coming toward my home. So I went into safety preparation mode.

I grabbed the flashlight, weather radio, my purse, a soft-drink and some chips and took the radio and my purse to the innermost hallway in our home. (OK. I was hungry thus the inclusion of the drink and chips...and if the worst happened to our home, I'd need what was in my purse.) Still no rain in our area so I stayed on the phone with dear hubby and watched the news reports to see where the storm was. Then...

Then.

Boom! Crash! Pop! What was THAT?!?!? I had never heard anything like that before. So I looked out the back window toward the pool. Splash! No splish just splash! From the size of the splash, it looked like bowling balls were being bombarded into the water. And little white balls were pummeling my back yard turning the yard white like snow. And it was LOUD! Louder and harder hitting than any storm I have experienced in the past. I continued to look out and saw the hailstones failing and the small branches being removed from the trees thanks to the force of the hail. Although I have been through many, many storms in the past, I had never been through anything like this.

This was indeed the worst hail storm I personally had experienced. Several of my neighbors that have lived in our neighborhood for decades say it was the worst this neighborhood has seen. And yet, I know that it could have been much worse. Less than 10 miles from my house, a tornado touched down and damaged a grocery store, destroyed a church building, and ripped up a car wash. Many homes were severely damaged as well.

I took inventory. No structural damage to our home. Everyone made it home safely. The storm was bad but it did not destroy us.

In my life I have experienced many kinds of storms...emotional, psychological, physical, spiritual, relational...As many storms as I have been through, one would think I have experienced the worst there is to experience as storms go. Yet I know the storms can be much worse. I know that others have had the tornadoes actually touch down in their lives. Others have lost a young child. Others have battled with cancer. Others have lost everything they have to the point of homelessness and joblessness combined. As bad as the storms were that I have lived through, I know there are storms that are much worse. And just like when I tried to sleep in the safety of my home as a hurricane blew through south Florida, I know that I can rest in the arms of my Loving Lord even in the midst of the worst of all situations.

What kind of storm are you caught up in today? Do you think your storm is the worst possible storm you could experience? Today will you open your eyes, take inventory, and see what you DO have in the middle of this storm? No matter how bad you think your storm is, will you reach up to our Loving Lord and let Him guide you safely through it? If you are not in the middle of a storm right now, will you take the storm safety steps that you need to be prepared for the next storm? Will you make sure that you are regularly in the Word and constantly in prayerful communication with our Loving Lord?

Psalm 107:23-32 (The Message)
Some of you set sail in big ships;
you put to sea to do business in faraway ports.
Out at sea you saw God in action,
saw his breathtaking ways with the ocean:
With a word he called up the wind—
an ocean storm, towering waves!
You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out;
your hearts were stuck in your throats.
You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk,
you didn't know which end was up.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
he got you out in the nick of time.
He quieted the wind down to a whisper,
put a muzzle on all the big waves.
And you were so glad when the storm died down,
and he led you safely back to harbor.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
for his miracle mercy to the children he loves.
Lift high your praises when the people assemble,
shout Hallelujah when the elders meet
!

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