Hail violently pelted my car. Knuckles white and body tensed, I gripped the steering wheel, gently apply pressure to the gas. I expected a window to bust out at any moment. I couldn’t find any place to safely shelter. Cars sat stubbornly beneath the overpasses, leaving anyone stuck behind them with nowhere to go.
My heart raced wildly.
The road was covered in white hail stones. I couldn’t drive any faster or I risked losing friction.
“Father God,” I prayed silently, as my knuckles whitened on the steering wheel, “please help me not to crash. Please keep us safe.”
As we neared our friends’ house, the hail stopped almost as suddenly as it began. A faint rainbow shimmered against the slate-gray clouds.
I slowly wound my way through the water-logged streets, trying to avoid the pockets of sidewalk-height water as much as possible. After we dropped some supplies at our friends’ house, I pulled into a nearby parking lot, breathing heavily.
Why on earth did we have to get caught out in that storm?!
When we made it back home, I looked on the local news page to see if we were expecting more hail. The following picture suddenly caught my eye.
Someone had take drone footage of the storm as it grazed our city. At the top of a massive gray cylinder, clouds were ever so slightly rotating. The text below said, “thankfully, it didn’t morph into a tornado.” I had been stricken with fear over some hail and rain, and yet God had protected us from something far worse!
Being a Southern California native, I learned to drive under relatively mild conditions. God has led me to different places as I’ve grown older, and I’ve had to adapt to vastly different weather. Currently, I live in a place where the weather can shift dramatically within 30 minutes.
Storms—physical or otherwise—can terrify us with their ferocity.
Look at how the disciples reacted to a storm on the ocean:
“And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.
And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!”
And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?””
Matthew 8:23-27 ESV
The disciples panicked.
I’m sure they were thinking, “How can he sleep at a time like this?!?!?”
They cried out in fear, not realizing the power and protection that rested inside their own boat. They were with the Lord of all creation!
When our literal and figurative storms strike, do we remember that Jesus in our hearts, or do we run frantically to and fro trying to save ourselves?
In the current crisis, it seems as though fear is behind the wheel throughout the world. Like hailstones, we are pelted with disquieting news day-in and day-out:
- a plummeting economy
- a skyrocketing number of reported COVID-19 cases
- panic buying
As we process this rapidly changing storm, it is vital for us to do the following:
Reach out to the Lord.
If you’ve been telling yourself “I need to pray more,” there’s no time like the present to form that new habit! If your commute has suddenly vanished, take the time you would normally use for your commute to pray when you wake up. When you resume your normal working hours, keep your normal prayer time, even if you have to get up a few minutes earlier.
Shift your focus away from the storm and onto Jesus.
Limit social media. Get the basics from the news and then move on. Use part of the time mentioned above to read God’s word. Writing out scripture is also a great way to meditate on the Word.
Here are a few links to help you get started in bible study and/or scripture writing:
Find new ways to shine your light.
I shared this yesterday on our Facebook page, because I loved this simple idea of sidewalk-chalk encouragement! I’ve also seen people posting what they are thankful for on social media. Preachers are holding Facebook live, Skype, and/or zoom bible studies. We can serve the Lord, even in isolation!
Take time to check on people.
There are people who relied on social gatherings, work, and worship to stave off their loneliness. Now they are home in an empty house.
There are men and women who have lost spouses that are now literally alone with their grief.
Reach out. Call. Text. FaceTime. Send cards. Write letters. Have a Skype game night. Offer to pickup their groceries. Let people know in some way, shape, or form, that they are not forgotten. By so doing we can also remind them of the ever-present love of God.
Establish a “quiet time” if you don’t already have one
A lot of parents are suddenly and unexpectedly home full-time with their children. I love my children, but I do need some space each day to collect my thoughts and they also need space from each other. It’s not because I do not love them, but I noticed early on that if we didn’t take a break from each other, there was a lot more bickering and fighting.
When they were very small, I would do quiet time during the youngest child’s nap time. The older children were supposed to play or read books quietly in their rooms. Sometimes I would just sit in the hallway and make sure they weren’t getting up to mischief while reading a book. Even now, as they are older, we all enjoy our quiet time. After lunch and an audiobook or read-aloud, we all head off into our rooms and I set a 30 or 45-minute timer. It’s a good rest for everyone in the family and we enjoy each other’s company a bit more after the small break.
With the Lord, we can ride out this storm. He is protecting and providing in ways we cannot even imagine. Give thanks for the smallest blessings as you learn to trust in God’s unfailing love.
“Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow,
Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea,
What matters beating wind and tossing billow
If only we are in the boat with Thee?
Hold us quiet through the age-long minute
While Thou art silent and the wind is shrill :
Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, are in it?
Can the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will?”