Haven

The other side of the storm.

I stepped out the back door a few moments ago and felt as if I had wandered into a different world.  When I had come home a couple of hours before, the trees stood quietly, blissfully content that their only activity was the gentle casting of long shadows in the evening sunlight.

Not so on my later visit.  The sun had tumbled from the sky, the abdication of its position giving leave to black clouds and high winds in their takeover of the landscape.

And take over, they had.

The formerly passive trees could only be described as boisterous, their limbs twisting and waving in the gale.  The wind churned and reeled, first from one direction, and then from the other.  I glanced at the lighted sign near the road waving dangerously back and forth, the wildly undulating shadows thrown by its powerful bulbs looking nothing like the shadows I had admired earlier under the trees.

I stood, frozen.  Seriously.  Frozen.

I had sensed nothing of the power of the storm front from my cozy seat in the house.  I never intended to step into the middle of a tempest.  Inside, the sound of the wind was minimal, its power unnoticeable.

Here, in the center of the maelstrom, I feared—however briefly—for my safety.  My heart pounded.  My skin crawled with the realization of how small and powerless I was, confronted by the strength of creation’s fury. 

I said I was frozen.  It was only for a moment, perhaps all of ten seconds.

Then, I remembered.

There was a door right behind me—not locked.  I had only to turn the knob and step into safety.

In an instant, the sound of the wind was muted, the wonder at its fury a memory.

Hidden from the storm, the brick house seemed a fortress, a haven where I could relax.

The storm raged for a few moments more, having nothing but threats to make tonight.  

The little tree frogs knew it even before the wind began to calm, their croakyfrog-961387_640 little voices blending in a hymn to the Creator who brings both sunshine and storm, sustaining all of His creatures.

I didn’t sing.  I’m still not singing.

I sit in my comfortable chair and all I can think about is the reality that more storms are on their way.

On the other side of the storm, my memory of safety and protection intact, I am already worrying about the next one, and the one after that.  For, surely they will come again—and again—and yet again.

andreas-achenbach-85762_640The other side of the storm is still a place where more storms will come.

The Teacher’s followers sat in that boat after He had calmed the storm on the lake and they knew, they just knew, more storms were yet to break upon their bow. 

Death would soon take their Master.  It would eventually take all of them, and in between His death and theirs, chaos would reign in the world.

And yet, they put their trust in Him.  

Their Haven from the storms, they would rest in Him.  They would trust Him while the storm yet raged, as well as when calm overtook them.  

Oh, there were a few moments when panic seized their spirits.  They ran and hid, but they knew where safety lay.  Never did they stray far.

Still, I’m waiting for that next storm.

It’s calm here now.  Outside.  

Not so much, in my soul.

We live our lives on the other side of the storm.  Few are those who can claim a life free of conflict and trouble.  For most, the respite between the storms is temporary and brief.

I wonder.  Am I looking at the wrong thing?

I think about the stubborn disciple, the one also called The Rock.  We tend to ridicule him for his experience in walking on the water.  We might even suggest that he should have stayed in the boat.  (Matthew 14:22-33)

The rational men did just that.  They stayed in the boat.  They didn’t get their names recorded as doubters who took their eyes off their Master.  Sensible men, they weren’t making any rash moves.

It didn’t make sense to get out of the boat.  At least not from their perspective.  I can almost see the others, grabbing at the impetuous one’s sleeves.

No, Peter!  Stay here.  It’s certain death out there!  You’ll drown!

Oh, the silliness of our disbelief.  We call safe places dangerous, and dangerous places safe.

In our disbelief, we call safe places dangerous, and dangerous places safe. Click To Tweet

Safety lies in the arms of the Master.  The Creator-of-all-that-is comes walking on His water and all other places except at His side teem with peril.  

A little wooden boat on the sea—safe?  What a joke!

Peter took his eyes off the Master and contemplated the storm.  He saw the wind whipping the waves up around him and he realized how dangerous his world was at that instant.

If only he had recognized who held his world in the palm of His hand.  Ah, but he did soon enough.  Safety was his in the arms of his Master.

I say it again:  I wonder if I’m looking at the wrong thing

Why does the fury of the tempest fill my sight when the One who rules all storms is right there, in plain view?

I hear the thunder in the distance and lightning is flashing in my window.  The storm approaches again.

He doesn’t only rule the weather, my friends.  

In the shadow of His protection, we may safely shelter through every storm of life.

The door is still unlocked.

Time for rest.

We’ll be on the other side of this storm soon enough.

Peace.  Be still.

Perhaps, there may even be a song, a hymn of gratitude.

The frogs aren’t the only creatures that can sing.

 

 

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
    that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
(Psalm 5:11 ~ NLT)

 

Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms. I said that some time ago, and today I do not think I would add one word.
(Sir Laurence Olivier ~ English actor ~ 1907-1989)

 

 

 

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

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