We’d been there before, huddled in the basement of my in-law’s country home, as an approaching storm grew louder. But this time felt different. The awareness that a tornado had passed through town just hours before caused all of us to walk the familiar path with an urgency higher than normal.
“Is it coming, Mommy?”
I didn’t know what to say. Looking up from my phone, I hesitated longer than I intended. “I don’t know, bud. I hope not.” The fear on his face echoed the fear in my heart. I looked back down at my phone. The radar didn’t look good.
Having grown up in the Midwest, thunderstorms were a part of life. The words Tornado Watch a common occurrence in the upper right corner of the TV. But as far as I could remember, one had never been this close or this real.
Make it go away, Jesus. Please, just make it go away. Numb with fear I could think of nothing else to pray.
Until my husband bounced down the stairs. “You’ve got to come outside. The sky is amazing.”
Outside? Really? Curious, I went.
And oh my, it was breathtaking. The swirl of dark ambitious clouds circling just to the north. I’d never seen anything like it. I couldn’t look away. Nor could I stop the praises: Oh, LORD God Almighty, you are awesome in power. The work of your hands – amazing. There’s no one like you, Jesus. No one.
My heart sang with thanksgiving to a God so much greater than myself. A God who had always been and who will always be completely in control of life’s storms. A God I can run to. A God who promised to never leave me; never forsake me.
And I realized at that moment, seeing the storm had done more for my faith than avoiding it completely ever would have. The swirling clouds overhead were a front row seat to the sovereignty of God. I saw firsthand the power of my Savior. I felt the peace of His hand upon me. I experienced the comfort of His closeness and the assurance of being His child.
The uncertainty around me produced a renewed certainty within me; I praised Him on the other side. And I knew, that’s why He had allowed the storm. That’s why He allows any of it.
The everyday hardships of life are an opportunity to know Christ in ways the peaceful path doesn’t allow.
I’m sure David would have gladly avoided his tenure hiding from Saul in the caves. But it’s there he experienced the Savior.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. (Psalm 57:1)
Just like I’m sure the disciples would have gladly avoided the windstorm barreling down on the Sea of Galilee. Yet it was there, amid the storm, they got to experience Jesus calm it. Gaining the surefire understanding “that even the wind and the sea obey him” (Mark 4:41).
Later, after the tornado, I found out another storm had intercepted the supercell headed straight for us, diminishing the danger we were in and redirecting it north. But even if it hadn’t, I learned something that day:
No matter the storm, no matter the outcome, my Savior will walk me through.
And when He does, I’ll praise Him for it. Because I know, on the other side, the promise of God’s presence will be more tangible to me than the day before.