Recently our area was struck with an unexpected storm. Television reports and the blowing of the sirens alerted us to it's imminent arrival. Yet the intensity of the winds and the torrential downpour of rain left me in awe. I should have been in the basement, as the weather reporters advised. Yet then I would have missed seeing the power of this storm.
As it turns out this storm uprooted some big old trees and broke off many, many big branches in our village. (I posted one picture of an uprooted tree by the village park below.) It caused many people to lose electrical power-some for thirty-six hours or more. I never lost power, but I lost internet and phone service for awhile. Evidence of the storm are still evident on my village streets, although some towns and counties around us fared worse because of the storm.
Life is filled with other kinds of storms as well. I remember the storm of caring for my husband and watching as his body became more and more disabled over a period of about four and a half years. The care-giving storm is a difficult storm. I remember the storm of grief after losing my husband and becoming a widow. I remember the storm of all the secondary losses as well, and of having to build an entirely new life.
I also remember other storms since those days. Sometimes the storms have been very intense and painful emotionally and physically. Sometimes they have been minor storms which can collectively wear on an individual. Storms of one degree of intensity or another continue to seem to come.
Recently I read some devotions by Nancy Guthrie from her book, The One Year Book of HOPE. This is what she said in one of her devotions, "Perhaps you find yourself watching the storm clouds gather in the distance, or maybe you are swirling in the center of a storm. Or perhaps the storm has come and gone and you are picking up the pieces of your life. God often speaks to us through the storms of our lives.---if we listen, in the midst of the most violent storm we can detect the still, small voice of God, calling us to greater faith in Him."
Often it takes a storm for us to see our need for the Lord and to cry out to Him. It is often in the storms that our complacency is replaced with a sense of His presence. We then hear His still small voice. We recognize that He is with us in the storm. Having the Lord with us in the storm makes all the difference, no matter how tumultuous the storm.
When I was watching the recent storm in our village from my living room window I felt remarkably calm in the moment. I was relatively safe in the "ark" of my home. Imagine how Noah in the Old Testament of the Bible felt when he was in that ark in the great flood, however. Imagine how fearful the disciples in the New Testament felt when they were in their boat in very stormy weather. Yet the Lord Jesus is our ark of safety in all the kinds of storms that God allows in our lives. We may not like the storms, but He is always our place of safety.
Sometimes it is easy to tire of the storms that keep coming and to dread the next one which perhaps can not yet be seen on the horizon. It is easy to also imagine storms that never will occur. That only uses up emotional energy unnecessarily. Instead of looking at the waves in current storms, reliving regrets about past storms, or imagining future storms; the Lord wants us to look to Him. He wants us to focus on Him and embrace Him, and when storms do come he wants us to step out faith. He wants us to trust His sustaining power and love.
The only way we can prepare for unexpected storms in our lives is by living close to the Lord and by immersing God's Word into our lives. We need to obediently build our lives on the foundation of obedience to God's Word and on His precious promises to always be with us. Yes, we will falter and become afraid at times, but the Lord and the promises of His Word will see us through.