Storms

Storms. They happen. The wind blows— sometimes only a gust or two, other times it’s a gale. Precipitation falls— a soft, gentle misting or a punishing downpour where each drop strikes with a painful jab. Combine the two— wind and precipitation— add some cold temperature and you’ve got a blizzard on your hands.

Storms can vary not only in intensity, but in duration. Sometimes they pass quickly, letting fall only a handful of raindrops as they scoot along. Others linger and linger and… Hello, Harvey! It’s a downright hurricane with trees whipping side-to-side, rain lashing the windows and turning a normal, suburban landscape into a remembrance of the Great Flood.

I heard a song the other day about being “in the eye of the storm.” It’s got a catchy tune and a great beat and is high on my list of favorites. The song came on the radio while I sat at a stoplight yesterday and I listened— really listened to the lyrics. They got me thinking… Wait, what?

Having lived in North Carolina for a few years— Greetings from Bertha and Fran!— and having been smack in the middle of Harvey for days (and days, and days!), I know a little bit about being in the eye of the storm. The eye of the storm is… peaceful. Truly. The winds suddenly cease, the sun shines, the birds and squirrels peek out and then venture back into the open, checking to make sure their favorite perches and stashes of nuts are still there. Kids come out onto screened porches or put on their wellies and go for a bit of an explore. Eyes of storms are not something to endure— much less fear.

I’m not an idiot, usually. I know the song isn’t about literal storms— it’s about those storms of life we all encounter— but if you’re going to use figurative imagery, shouldn’t you use it right? The discussion going on in my head got interesting just as the light turned green. (Thank goodness my husband was at the wheel so I wasn’t guilty of “distracted driving”!)

The eye of the storm is great— you’ve come through one whale of a tempest and, suddenly, all’s clear! Birds singing, squirrels chattering— all that. The thing is, the eye of the storm also means that there’s another round coming— the storm is only half finished. And the second half? That’s when the most damage is done. The winds shift directions and everything that was already weakened, loosened, in the first half is about to face round two. And round two doesn’t start off nice and easy with fairly light winds and rain bands— no, it starts back up with the winds of the eye wall slamming in.

So, maybe the song writer got it right after all. The singer is sitting in the eye of his storm, sails ripped to shreds, knowing that he has no control and the winds are about to strike— and hard. He’s on his knees in six-to-eight inches of bilge water, praying that his boat will stay afloat. Praying he’ll survive. And he prays with faithknowing God is his anchor and that God can get him through.

Storms of life are very much like those in nature. Some are quick and easy and relatively painless, others go on and on. And, on. Sometimes there’s thunder and lightening. Sometimes, a deluge of rain. Sometimes, even hail or a tornado. And, sadly, sometimes we’re alone; it’s cold… and lonely… and we’re lost in a howling blizzard. And, maybe only once in a lifetime, we find ourselves in the eye of a storm and we know— oh, man, do we know!— that eye wall is coming.

When you find yourself in a storm, hang in there. If the winds are picking up, find a hand to hold— a friend’s, or even that of a stranger— because simply not being alone makes everything more bearable. And if you find yourself in the eye of a storm and you’re scared and bracing for what you’re about to face… remember that the thing about eye walls is that once you get through the worst of it, it does get easier. So, pray with faith and know God is your anchor and can get you through.

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