Monday, August 18, 2008
Lessons from the storm...
Lessons from the storm...
Saturday afternoon we headed out for what promised to be a wonderfully relaxing time at the lakeside home of friends. I was to bring my stitchery, and my friend planned to do some sketching as we relaxed on the beach. They live about 20 minutes from us, and the sun was shining brightly before we left home. About halfway there, we saw a few sprinkles on the windshield, and it was in fact raining when we reached our destination. But we enjoyed a nice chat on the porch anyway, and, when the shower seemed to be over, we ventured out for a walk.
Toward the end of our walk it began to rain again, so we put up the umbrellas we'd brought and headed back to our friends' place. Just as we reached their porch, the hail began. Now, we've seen hail in conjunction with summer thunderstorms before, but this was an amazing amount of hail! The hailstorm lasted 15 to 20 minutes and was accompanied by a very strong smell of sulphur. While it hailed, the noise on the metal porch roof was deafening. Conversation literally could not be carried on -- in fact, we had to plug our ears because the sound was so loud. The hail covered the ground, looking incongruously like snow. When the hail ended, the rain, thunder and lightning all continued for quite some time.
After enjoying a delightful early supper, we decided to go out for another walk, since things had cleared off. What a difference! The sky was bright blue, with fluffy white clouds, and the lake was serene and calm. People were swimming and boating once again. It was an amazing transformation.
Now for the really good part of the story. You see, although the afternoon didn't go according to the plans we had made, it did go according to God's plan. And, amazingly, He used that storm to reinforce some important lessons and to encourage me. I hope these thoughts may encourage someone else today, too. Here are some of my thoughts:
1) God's awesome power was seen so clearly in that unusual storm. It reminded me of something I had just read in Elizabeth George's book Finding God's Path Through Your Trials. She wrote that an important step for staying in our trials is to remember God's power: "When your trial gets harder and the steps grow steeper, you struggle. Remind yourself, 'Is anything too hard for the LORD?' (Genesis 18:14) and remember the answer: 'Ah Lord GOD! behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee.' (Jeremiah 32:17)"
Interestingly, before I read those words this week, I had already been working at memorizing Jeremiah 32:17. God used that hailstorm to remind me of His limitless power and might.
2) When I mentioned to our pastor about the deafening sound of the hail on the metal roof, and how we couldn't hear one another, he remarked that sometimes the storms in our lives become so loud that we have to listen extra carefully for the still, small voice of God. How true! In the storms of life, I have found it so important to take extra time with the Lord and to pray for sensitivity to His leading.
3) The contrast between the raging storm and the serene calm of a few hours later was so vivid. It was such an encouragement to me as I thought about the storms of life and how there will eventually be a calm. No matter how the storm rages, the Lord will bring us safely through to the other side. The verses that came to mind immediately were these:
"Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and He bringeth them out of their distresses.
"He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
"Then are they glad because they are quiet; so He bringeth them into their desired haven.
"Oh, that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" (Psalm 107:28-31)
Truly, there are precious lessons to be learned in the storms of life.