Storms A’comin

In light of the actual weather storms many are currently facing, I though a post on life’s storms might also be timely.

While recently vacationing in Mexico, I warily watched a storm on the horizon, while standing on the beach. I watched for a few moments, trying to decide if it was coming my way or not. If it was coming my way, I needed to prepare. I had just made my nest on the beach for the morning. I had my pillow from the hotel room, a towel (two actually), my phone, iPad, and laptop computer. I had my book for the week and my husband. If the storm was moving in my direction, I needed to know.

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Photo cred: Brian Cook

As I stood there, I could see it was not moving towards the shore, but across the horizon. I watched it intently for a few minutes before claiming my near miss. The next afternoon, we were not so fortunate. As we laid on our beautiful beach bed, we were taken by surprise when a large storm rushed the beach from the ocean in front of us. Only moments before, we could clearly see the horizon. How did that happen? Had we not had our room located close to the beach, we, and all of our things, would have been soaked to the bone.

You guys know where I’m going with this, don’t you? I’ve heard it said more than once about storms in this life: “There’s one coming at you, you are in one, or you just made it through one”. It’s the way of this life. It looks like if that is the case, and it is, we would never be caught off guard by them. But we are. It seems we would be in a constant state of readiness. But we aren’t. We often live as though our storms are all pop-up storms for which we could have never properly prepared, when many of them sent warnings from way out on the horizon… if we had just been paying attention.

The morning I watched the storm cross the horizon in front of me, I could see small ships out on the water. I wondered what they would do as the storm approached them. Would they turn tail and make a break for it? They didn’t. I imagined the crews on those ships falling into action, doing what they had been trained to do, never allowing panic to set in. They were prepared. They knew about storms and how to navigate them successfully.

The second day, when the storm came too quickly for most of us, I stood looking out to the beach from the relative safety of my hotel room. There had been vacationers that afternoon who had rented jet skis and had been taken out on the ocean for a ride. Their five minute instruction class on the beach proved to be inadequate preparation for the storm that came. I watched as panicked riders fought large choppy waves in their attempt to get back to safety. Several were separated from their tour guide, and were struggling in the wind and water. Panic set in as more than one required help getting back to shore by more experienced riders/guides.

I’ve weathered my share of storms this year. I’d like to say I was well prepared for them all. I’d like to say that. Some I could see on the horizon, and some were upon me before I realized they were coming. I’ve learned a good bit from both kinds lately. I’ve learned that no matter the storm, 1) The name of the Lord is a strong tower and those who run to it find refuge (Proverbs 18:10), and 2) After I have put on the full armor of God and I have done everything I can to stand… I stand firm. I dig my heels in, lean my shoulders into the wind and I stand (Ephesians 6).

As I watched the panicked Jet Ski riders calling out and signaling for help, I realized that they likely would not have made it through the storm successfully had they not called for, and accepted, help. Asking for help is rarely a sign of weakness. We were created to live in community, needing one another. This world is not made of billions of one-person islands. God sets the lonely in families because we cannot make it on our own (Psalm 68:6). I can do many things, but I cannot do everything.

Storms are a reality in this life. We prepare for them by staying close to the Father, He is our strong tower. We prepare for them by keeping our armor on, and learning how to dig in. And we survive storms by calling upon our people… the ones He has placed in our lives to help us weather the storms of this life. Everything smooth sailing in your life right now? That’s great. Keep your eyes on the horizon!

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