Storm Warnings

If the thunder comes, I’ll have to sleep in Mama’s bed.

The girl says the words matter-of-factly, without an inkling that they might possibly cause laughter.  Her grandpa, with an effort, does not disappoint, realizing the little sweetie is merely stating the truth as she knows it.

Any child knows that Mama’s bed is a safer place to be than his or her own unprotected expanse of mattress.  And yet…  And yet…

And yet the boy, just a couple of years older, made certain to assure me he would not be seeking shelter in the safe haven of Mom’s bed.  The bravado is comical in its own way, but I hold my laughter in, not wanting to hurt feelings.

lightning-378069_640The storm warnings are out tonight.  Tornadoes, say the weathermen.  Strong winds.  Hail.

Take cover, they tell us.

Accordingly, some friends are spending the night in storm shelters, some in their bathrooms.

I will not fault them.  It’s hard not to be afraid when the experts we trust say we should be.

A friend shared a little saying the other day.  I don’t remember all of it, but I recall the core thought:

Fear is a lie.

I don’t disagree.  But sometimes—even often—it feels more like the truth.

When the wind is ripping limbs off trees overhead, when the rain is blowing sideways and debris is careering crazily across highways, when hail is pounding rooftops, terror seems a reasonable response.

Mom’s bed may not be safe enough.

The bathroom may not be secure.

The storm cellar doesn’t seem quite as impervious as it once did.

In spite of it all, I like thunderstorms.  The power, the beauty, the replenishment of the earth, all these and more inspire admiration.

Don’t get me wrong.  I understand there is danger.  I pray for those who don’t have adequate shelter.  I feel empathy for folks (and a certain little girl) who are terrified by the potential for loss of life and property.

In truth, I realize that none of God’s creation is safe.  All of it has the potential to wreak havoc on our lifestyle.  

I also realize that all of His creation is fantastic!  The mountains, the forests, the rivers, the sea—all are beautiful, dangerous evidences of His sustaining and yes, frightening, power.

I wonder though, on what or whom do we depend for safety?  

The easy answer is that we put our trust in God.  Even the psalmist said the words; When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. (Psalm 56:3

You’re scratching your head, aren’t you?

Did he just say, “the easy answer”?

I did.  It’s on the tip of our tongues.  We may even claim that God is our very first recourse, every time we are afraid.

It’s an admirable thing.  

He wants us to call on Him.  One of the saddest moments I think of in our Savior’s ministry (beside His trial and death) is the moment when He looked over the beloved city, Jerusalem, and lamented their steadfast refusal to accept His protection. (Matthew 23:27)

But, what if we were willing to give our fears to Him, instead of insisting He save us from the object of our fears?  

What if we simply trusted Him in the storm? 

In it.

The Teacher’s followers, in that storied storm on the lake, believed they were showing faith in Him when they woke Him up to voice their fears.  

Do you remember what He did?

He rebuked the wind and the waves.  He scolded them.  And then, turning to His followers, He did the same to them.  (Mark 4: 35-41)

Have you no faith?

For so long, I have not understood.  Certainly, they had faith!  Why would they have awakened Him if they didn’t believe He could do something about the storm?  Wasn’t that faith?

It’s the kind of faith I have.

The storms of life require a command from Him.  Peace!  Be still!

That is what I believe—or, at least what I have believed.

And, as I write, in my mind’s eye I see the little girl running to her Mama’s bed in the midst of the storm.

Ha!  Do you know what she is going to do there?

Will she insist that Mama quiet the storm?  Will she quiver and quake until the last lightning flash and the last rumble of thunder is past?  No.  She will sleep.

She will sleep.

Safe.

Why didn’t the Disciples think of that?  Why didn’t they lie down on the deck beside Him and sleep?

More to the point—why don’t I?

What safer place could one want?

How much more protection could you ever have?

Safe.  In the arms of Jesus.

The storm is passed.  

For tonight.

The little girl sleeps in her Mama’s bed.

Childlike faith.

Safety.

 

 

 I’ve anchored my soul in the Haven of Rest;
I’ll sail the wide seas no more.
The tempest may sweep o’er the wild stormy deep;
In Jesus I’m safe ever more.
(Haven of Rest ~ H L Gilmour ~ American choirmaster/poet ~ 1836-1920)

 

The waters are rising, but so am I. I am not going under, but over.
(Catherine Booth ~ Co-founder of the Salvation Army ~ 1829-1890)

 

 

 

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

 

One thought on “Storm Warnings

  1. I appreciate these thoughts greatly. Thanks for the insight and advice.

    Storms bring rain. Rain brings life.
    Storms bring destruction. Destruction brings opportunity.

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