I had a rough week. I was stressed and really needed a break—a chance to breathe. My church small group was a few days away and I was looking forward to it. This was my chance to get out of the house and chat with other adults. The day of small group finally arrived. A few hours before leaving we checked the weather. A few storms were brewing and could be rolling into our area. I don’t mind rain, thunder or even lightning but I can do without high winds and hail. My husband and I checked into what kind of storms were brewing and they were forecasting the light kind –the kind I could handle. We knew we could be driving into the storm on our forty-five minute trip home but decided to go ahead anyway.
Sure enough, by the end of our time at small group the dark clouds we dominating the sky in the direction we needed to go. As I was getting into the car I comforted myself that this would be just rain, thunder and some lightning. Although in the back of my mind I know the weather around here well enough to know that could change. Pushing those thoughts aside, I took a deep breath and felt assured we’d be okay. Besides, I needed to stay calm so the kids wouldn’t be scared.
As we set out down the road I prayed out loud that the Lord would keep us safe. I was doing well at staying light-hearted and kept checking to see if the kids were frightened — especially my eight-year-old son who is more afraid of storms than the other kids. To my surprise he started laughing at the way the raindrops were splattering on the windshield.
The ominously dark clouds were blocking all the light from the sun. My husband decided to take a different road than we normally take. He thought the alternate route would put more light on the street, but it didn’t give as much as he hoped for. Oddly enough it was the lightning that ended up giving us the light we needed.
We continued cautiously down the road. My husband turned on the radio to get weather updates. The rain beat harder and in bigger drops. The radio announced a severe thunderstorm warning with possibilities of hail and winds up to sixty miles per hour. I went from cautious to worried. I watched the rain drops beat harder against the pavement. It looked as if some of the drops were bouncing back up off the highway. The drops had a hard, solid look to them. Was that hail? I studied them a bit more when something on the side of the road caught my eye. There were white piles of what appeared to be snow in the grass. It was hail! I went from worried to panicking. In my mind I figured the next thing to come would be the high winds. We can’t stand against those well in our car. “Can we pull off somewhere?,” I asked my husband. He said he was looking for a place to stop. It seemed to take forever to get to our pull off point, though it was probably only a few minutes.
By the time we pulled off to a parking lot, the rain had started to slow down. My husband called his dad to have him check the weather map to see if we should wait it out or keep heading down the road. About that time my son pointed out the clearing skies in the distance. The sun shining through made a radical difference in how things appeared. The weather map said our destination was clear. We had gone though the worst of it. With that assurance and the clearing skies ahead of us we set off again. Though there was daylight in the distance, I still wasn’t at peace. It took awhile to come down from being panicked.
As I looked back on our adventure in my mind, I wondered if we were driving into a storm in our life. The storms of life often come as a surprise to us, but at other times we know we’re driving into them. Last November my husband was let go from his job. His boss decided to close part of the shop. That evening as my family and I stood in a circle to pray before bed, tears streamed down as my faith and fear were colliding. The kids looked concerned to see me crying. “Everything is going to be okay,” I told them, “God will take care of us.” And He has been faithful. He’s kept food on our table, our bills are paid and the kids had one of the best Christmas’ ever thanks to the generosity of God’s people.
My husband decided to start his own business. At first it went very well. We weren’t even telling people about it and God kept bringing people to our door. I thought surely this will go well for us. Then it all stopped. No calls. No one coming to the door…nothing. After three months of this my husband decided to start looking for a job and forget about the business. Looking for a job, however, can be a job in itself.
Now I’m sitting here wondering how long this storm is going to last. Unfortunately there is no doppler radar for life. We can’t tell if we’ve gone through the worst of it yet or not. We can call on our Heavenly Father though. He will be sure to light our way no matter how intimidating and ominous the dark clouds may look – even if He has to light our way with lightning. He will not leave us in the dark.
No matter what storm of life I’m in, I must remember to keep my eyes focused on Him and trust Him and the promises in His Word. The bank account numbers and incoming bills may tempt me to worry or even panic like I did when I saw the rain beating down hard and hail piled on the side of the road. I must remember to trust God’s voice when He says He will provide for me. If I believe my circumstances or the voice of others I will become panicked like I did on our drive. His voice is the One I need to trust.
The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their time of distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. Isaiah 25:4 (NIV)
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:8 (NIV)