A couple summers ago, a microburst hit part of our city. In a matter of minutes, trees were downed; sheds were blown to pieces, and streets were flooded. The destruction was impressive. Thankfully, most of the damage was superficial. A few houses had trees land on roofs, but overall, no one was hurt, which is the most important thing.
The day had started out beautifully. The sun was shining, with a light breeze, and the temperatures were warm but not oppressively hot. We enjoyed watching soccer tournament games and made plans for later in the day. My husband warned me that storms were predicted for the afternoon, but looking around it was hard to believe the weatherman could be right.
In an instant, it all changed. Sure enough, the storms popped up on the radar and rolled into our area. As they intensified, we took cover in the basement and lost power (we didn’t know it at the time, but the power would not be restored for three days). Bryan has long disliked storms (stemming from leaving Florida as a young teenager during Hurricane Andrew, knowing his childhood home was destroyed in the storm). He decided to watch this one roll in and went to the back door, which faces west, while I stayed in the basement with the children. I was not happy with his decision. However, a few minutes later we realized why he felt so compelled to stay upstairs during this storm. Looking to the front door, he saw my mom standing outside. She had been driving out to shop after being at work when the storm hit (it was very sudden). As the power lines and trees started coming down all around her, she thankfully made it to our house, running to the door to take cover with us. However, being without power, we didn’t hear the doorbell, didn’t have a phone that worked (cell phone towers were down too) – only by God’s nudging Bryan to go back upstairs did we know that she was at our house. He of course let her inside, and she joined the rest of us in the basement.
Just as quickly as it came, the storm was over. Slowly, we and all of our neighbors emerged from hiding to observe the damage. Our street, which so rarely floods, was flooded with debris floating – many parts of our neighbor’s shed, branches, etc. The next thing we all noticed was the tree in our front yard. It had been snapped by the winds, as had a number of trees on our street. Amazingly, they all were away from the houses, except one that was small enough to miss the house it fell toward. We knew we were blessed that nothing worse had happened.
Life is often this way. We feel we are sailing along, and suddenly a storm comes seemingly from nowhere to throw us off-balance or even overturn our boat, causing us to question the very faith that we proclaim. How fickle we are! Crying out to God, we try to make sense of this new trial, new cross. “How can You let this happen, Lord?”
God cries with us. He gave us free will. He knows what will happen before it happens, and He weeps for us fallen humans who choose to do things that bring sorrow and hardship into our lives. It is so hard to accept that fact. We are called, however, to cling to our faith, to hope. And the God of hope, of faith, will make something out of nothing. He can and will use our situation, however painful, however desperate it is, to mold us, to guide us down the path He predestined for us before we were even born.
Just as Bryan listened to that little voice, the voice that in many ways seemed crazy (Why should he go upstairs when the basement is so much safer?), we are called to listen for God’s whispers, the way He is nudging us to go. In that way, we can find hope and new life even from the very bottom of the barrel, the place of utter despair where we find ourselves.
“Blessed are those who trust in the LORD; the LORD will be their trust. They are like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It does not fear heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still produces fruit.”
Dearest Father, we flounder and we fall, but You are always with us. Please guide us down the path to You, to eternal happiness. Amen.