Living in Florida, during this time of year, residents are frequented with afternoon storms. If you are born and raised her, they don’t come by surprise regardless of how heavy the rain falls or how loud the thunder booms. Lightening strikes don’t cause concern. Even most hurricanes will come and go, as we go on about life as normal… hunkering down until it passes and return to life as normal.
My dog, would beg to differ. I can tell a storm is coming long before the first rain drop. Our little weather dog has long alerted us to what he considers pending doom. I notice that he is suddenly more alert to his environment. Then the trembling begins. At first it resembles a mild shudder, like when one is hit with a sudden burst of cold air. I know the storm is drawing closer when his trembling could be confused with a seizure. It is more pronounced and uncontrollable. And then, he assigns himself to the human that he feels is the safest in the house & hides or hunkers down. A refusal to be alone, clinging to us for safety. There may be safer places to hide, physically, but ultimately he finds security in our presence.
Growing up in Florida, I remember being afraid of hurricanes. Now, I’m not. It is not that I don’t respect the storm. I do. I know the damage it can do. I lived through Hurricane Andrew, I remember the devastation. I have friends who were displaced and never returned to their homes because of Andrew. In later years, I recall the threat of an impending hurricane that caused our city to spray paint the names of the roads on the ground and sidewalks. I knew what that meant, it was possible enough damage could be done that we may not recognize the area. I never down play or underestimate what can happen.
However, I’ve also lived a lifetime of knowing not just the preparation for the storm… or what it is like to sit through it… but also the aftermath. I know when to make the decision to leave, I prepare for the clean up not just the wait, I have lived through days upon days without electricity. I have watched the communities in which I have lived rally together too. One year, after a week without power, we took a drive and found on the fringe of our city a pizza place that was open for business. Hot pizzas… all the same size, cheese or pepperoni, $5 each. We bought 10 pizzas and brought it back to share with our neighbors. I’ve listened to the chainsaws buzz, as everyone pitches in to remove downed trees.
When the storm is barreling our way, the thing I want the most is to be with my family. My husband usually is the last one in the doors just as the rains begin. He not only has our home to prep for the storm, but also responsibilities at his job to secure the site. Last hurricane, he was helping secure their yard while I was hanging shutters in the rain. I didn’t want him home to help me with the work load, I just wanted him with us. There is a sense of security and peace that comes with knowing where your people are.
Life is full of storms. There are the ones we see coming, like a hurricane, and we take all the possible measures to get out of the way or at least minimize the damage. Then there are the flash floods that come without warning, the tornadoes that seemingly came from nowhere leaving devastation in their wake. We will face storms that there is no way we could have prepared for. The cancer diagnosis. Car accident. Abuse. Addiction.
In these storms, as a Christian, we know that whatever it brings … that is not the end of our story. There is an eternity that awaits us. We cling to God, like a child to their parent’s leg, in our fear and uncertainty. We find peace in the storm by His presence. He is not rocked by the storm or the news, He is steadfast through it. Strong. Loving. Enduring with us as we wrestle with uncertainty and doubt.
He is the lighthouse in the raging sea. He is the voice that calms the wind. He is the one who walks on water, and the mountains bend at His name. To have a confidence in a hope and future, even when we don’t know the specific details of that future, gives us a supernatural peace in the natural chaos storms bring. It is not naivety or a lack of respect for the storm, but an esteem of someone greater.