Last night during a very poignant Family Bible Study I discussed storms with my 18yo son Jesse . I said, “There’s two things about storms you can count on Jesse, they will come and then they will go. Storms don’t stay, they always pass through, albeit, leaving destruction in their wake at times. We can’t control the coming and going of storms, we can only choose how we handle them when they do.”
I’ve been facing some stormy emotions and decisions and changes here lately. I bet you know exactly what I mean. I’m sure you’ve been there. Torn between trying to be courageous and do what you feel is right and being frozen in fear wondering if you are wrong. About the time you get your thoughts straight your body does something to complicate things, an ailment or illness, maybe just flat out worn out. About the time you recover from or make peace with that you’re knocked off balance because someone you love is struggling and in trouble. Before long you find yourself feeling windswept and storm-tossed.
So, what can we do about storms, how can we get ready and weather what must be gone through whether we like it or not? Living in Alabama and it being this time of year, the epitome of a storm is defined as a tornado. I guarantee you there’s not many of us who haven’t got a few tales to tell. Some have seen them, plenty have retreated to basements for safety, a few have lost family, homes, businesses, churches.
Last night tornados were in Arkansas where my youngest daughter is visiting with my mom. We sat and watched the weather channel and I realized there was absolutely nothing I could do but, sit there and pray. Prayer matters, it is important and powerful. But, for me in that moment, I wanted to take some type of action. Fear tried determinedly to grip my heart.
This morning I am relieved that my family members are safe and saddened that others who were someone else’s family lost their lives. My prayers are turned toward the hurting and bereaved. Today, these same storms will be headed our direction. There will be plenty to do in preparation. I’ll make sure the basement is in order and water and supplies and flashlights. But, after a while, I will have done all I can. Then, we will watch and pray.
Just like I told Jesse, we can’t control the coming and goings of storms, we just get to choose how we handle them. The very worst storms that we face in life may have nothing whatsoever to do with weather – tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes. The very worst storms we will likely face are matters of the heart. The loss of a loved one, the failure of a marriage, a child gone astray, a crisis of faith – these storms can destroy families, relationships and families. They can dash hopes and dreams, destroy plans and futures, demolish potential and sweep away years of invested love in what seems like a flash flood.
What then? What do we do then? When we’ve prayed and prepared and invested and tried and still the storm comes. Well, I can tell you what I’ll be doing. One of my favorite verses is Ephesians 6:13. The passage is best known for describing the armor of God a Christian should wear. But, the part that I have returned to many times is one phrase. ‘Having done all, NOW STAND’.
I’ve planted my feet firmly on a solid foundation of faith and convictions. I will do everything in my power to do what is right and what is wise and prepare myself. But, I will not crumple to the floor in a heap of whimpering defeat. I will not wrap myself in a blanket of fear and search for comfort in denial. I will not continue to do things the same and expect a different result. I will face my storms, I will take courage, and having done all, I will stand.