By Bryan Ruby, Bethel Christian Writers Facilitator
Before turning in last Friday night, I didn’t need to be a prophet to warn my wife, “We’re going to lose our side fence tonight.”
I awoke as many did to the carnage left behind due to the November 4 mega wind storm. Gusts of 60 to 70 mph moving through Tri-Cities and the lower valley had beat us over the head. And yes, it included the fence between ours and the neighbor’s house.
Gazing across the backyard into Wiley Elementary School’s playfield, two trees had become victims to its force, toppled like Lincoln Logs. Of course, I had to go rubberneck. Gaping divots with massive root balls hovering above them were matched by divots left in the pockets of two homeowners having to replace shattered fences.
Don’t hold this against me, but I love blustery days—minus the mayhem. Not so much at the age of six while surrounded by sinister trees aiming to kill me.
Getting off the school bus in first grade, I had two strict orders from headquarters (Mom). Go right in the house . . . and wait for my older brother’s bus. Dad and Mom were true co-laborers in working our farm and often in the vineyards.
Wayne’s junior high bus would come rolling up within minutes after mine, and this worked smoothly at the end of every school day. Until one afternoon after getting off the bus, a forceful windstorm froze me in my tracks at the entrance to our drive.
Our old farmhouse was surrounded by ancient trees, with one gigantic black walnut most likely planted as a twig around 1910. That afternoon, they were mighty sentinels, undulating and threatening me with every howling gust.
I was scared to death. Knowing at any moment, they were going to flatten our house and me in it if I ran inside. What to do?
Hide? Perfect! The tall grass next to the road would protect me. I’d be safe and out of sight from menacing trees until Wayne’s bus pulled up. He’d slap me on the back for being wise beyond my years and saving our lives.
Problem was . . . I fell asleep. Wayne couldn’t find me, ran out to the vineyard, and they searched high and low. Dad finally found me and his gentle but rather forceful shaking brought me to.
I learned my lesson—never hide in tall grass during a storm.
Today, my much older brain started to draw comparisons between my past and this up close and powerful storm, and the life storms we as Jesus followers will, and must go through.
So, here it is. Fresh from cracked limbs and downed trees, flattened cedar fences, and garbage strewn across yards and fields. But from a different perspective: Three Things Not to Do During Your Storm ...
1. Don’t hide.
I’m afraid, as adults, that’s exactly what we tend to do when the winds of this life buffet and knock us silly with guilt, shame, or disappointments. Instead of wrapping ourselves around the shelter of friends and family, we self-isolate. Pull away. Hide in the tall grass.
As a community of believers, we were made to weather financial storms, health storms, family storms, and any other kind of storm you can think of . . . together. The truth behind ‘Stronger Together’ isn’t just a catchphrase. It’s scripture.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
So, when you’re in a personal storm and your emotions and strength are being pelted, oh say, by the enemy . . . reach out. Don’t worry about getting the ugly cry. Been there. Stop hiding! Crawl out of the grass and reach for your brothers’ or sisters’ ropes.
2. Don’t lose heart.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe you’ll ever be the same while your storm rages on and on. You feel battered, bruised, and splintered in ways you never thought possible.
But take heart. Even though storms will come and beat against your faith and trust, and try to shake you to your very core—they will not leave you in ruin! The gusts will be followed by calm, and you’ll see your house remains true on its foundation. Because it was built on the Rock that cannot be moved or swayed or altered by anything seen or unseen (Matthew 7:24-27).
3. Don’t forget Who’s with you.
The boys found themselves out in a familiar setting: a boat on a lake. Not to fish. Simply to cross over because the Lord had told them to. The last thing the twelve expected was a furious squall with waves threatening to smash their boat to kindling. Why was this happening to them especially after following His instructions? Speaking of Jesus . . .
He was in the stern, and of all things, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples wake him with shouted pleas, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Jesus gets up (most likely stretches), and rebukes the wind and says to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind goes from a category 5 to a category nothin’ (Mark 4:35-39).
Sometimes it’s easy to forget Jesus is right there in the middle of our storm with us. Our flesh wants to panic and dive for cover instead of reaching out to the One who’s right in front of us. Truth is, He’s always near. When hurricane waves are threatening to sink us, Jesus plumps up a pillow and says, “Rest, let me take care of this.”
Each one of us will be challenged by personal storms. Until we go home, it just comes with this broken world. Today, maybe it’s you, or the stranger sitting across the aisle, or that friend with an uncharacteristic blank stare who’s going through a category 5 right now.
Take it from personal experience. When your storms come, don’t hide in the tall grass like a first grader. Don’t lose heart—Rock beats sand every time. And above all, don’t forget Who’s in the boat with you! He has your pillow plumped and waiting.
ABOUT BETHEL CHRISTIAN WRITERS
Bethel Christian writers shares inspirational, encouraging, or real-life experiences built around our faith in Jesus. To learn more, contact Bryan Ruby (firstname.lastname@example.org).