I come by my love of storms quite honestly. Whenever we felt the winds growing stronger and the sky was getting darker, my mom and sisters and I would gather on the front porch and watch as the sky lit up with lightening and the trees swayed in the yard. When the thunder boomed we would cover our ears and hide our faces but we stayed there on that porch as long as we could, enjoying the thrill of our own bravery.
And, still, even today as I was cooking dinner and I looked out the window to see the sky darkening and the wind whipping the jungle of weeds in our yard, I had to stop and run onto the porch so I could watch the storm roll in. Standing there with the wind and the rain and the thunder was where I needed to be in that moment.
Tonight I’m thinking about that and wondering what it is about a storm that draws me in so strongly that I have to stop and watch. Not just watch but be right in it. It’s so many things really…
it’s the display of power and me feeling so small
it’s the wind blowing in my face and me feeling so free
it’s the thunder crashing and me feeling so brave
it’s the rain letting loose and me feeling refreshed
it’s the shelter of my porch and me feeling safe.
One storm, coming in so quick and then gone, and it leaves me feeling changed, better, stronger.
I’ve seen my share of real storms but it’s the storms of life that have left the biggest mark in my life. I can’t say that when I see those kind of storms coming I run out to meet them with such eagerness. No, these are the storms that make me want to hide under the covers until it passes. But life isn’t like that. Try as we might, there are some storms that we have to face head-on and I’ve seen my share of these also.
And while I may never look forward to them, I can face them and I find that with each one I feel a little stronger. I’m learning to look at them for what they are…life. Life is full of storms and we can run from them, be angry about them, or learn from them. Here are some of the things I am learning.
A storm helps me to grow. I have been studying and memorizing the words of James 1:2-4 in the last several weeks, Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. It’s hard to look at my storms and see them as a gift. At least the kind of gift I don’t want to return unopened. But they are really. When I look back at the storms I’ve come through I know that I’m a different and better person because I weathered them. And, you know, I want to be mature in my faith. I don’t want to be found deficient in any way. I want people to be able to look at me in the midst of my storms and see my faith and its true colors and not find me lacking. So I’m learning to let the storms work in me. And it’s hard. But worth it.
Storms force me to run for cover. When it storms we all look for shelter, don’t we? We look for a safe place to land and wait it out. And that’s what happens when the storms come in my life. I find myself running for protection and I always find it in the same place; He will shield you with his wings. He will shelter you with his feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection (Psalm 91:4). I run to the shelter of His wings and there I find my safe place. I remind myself of His promises and His faithfulness and protection in the past. And as I hide myself in Him I find comfort and rest in the midst of the raging storms.
Storms show the glory of the creator. When we watch a storm we can’t help but be in awe of the sheer strength, the beauty, the power. When we look at the storms of life we see the same. We see the way He works in us and through us and beyond us and we are in awe of His power to calm us in the midst of the worst of the storm. And, in the end, His glory will be on display. Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.‘”(John 12:27-28) All around me is the evidence of His work in my life, Him using the storms to bring out His beauty in me. If we let Him do His work in us, we become the rainbows, symbols of His glory and faithfulness to those looking for hope in their storms.
There is no way to escape the storms and there is no way to soften the blows. Storms are hard. Storms are scary. Storms are powerful. But, in the midst of the storm, we can praise the One who is more powerful. We can thank Him for what He is doing in us and for us and through us as we walk through the storm. You are strong and He is stronger.