Every pandemic needs a tornado.
If you haven’t tried it, let me assure you – it strips away every remaining false sense of security you managed to cling to.
Four houses down (a mile and a half) the homes are still standing. Five they’re not.
I feel like I missed the “How To…” book, the blog post, the podcast – the one that outlines planning for a natural disaster in the midst of a health and economic one. The one that proposes Plan D when Plans A, B and C have fallen short. No electricity. No water. No wi-fi. No local coffee shop where you can go to recharge.
What are you up to, God? Not the instigator, but the one true constant in the midst of the virtual and physical storms surrounding me.
The day after, sitting in my car with a barely functioning charger trying to replenish my phone’s battery I found my mind moving to the mental list of things I’d need to be better prepared next time. Better car charger. Weather radio. Flashlights. I felt the anxiety begin to creep up. Screech.
A memory. Of that moment, minutes away from my daughter’s 19th birthday when the house was literally shaking. When it felt like the windows and doors would give way. There was One I reached out to in prayer, asking for another milestone. One I reminded another daughter to call to when she was experiencing anxiety next door huddled in the hall with her own family. One I asked family to intercede to as we weathered the storm. And I remembered another storm. One the Lord keeps bringing me back to these days. With fishermen and a sleeping God incarnate.
I want to be like Jesus. That’s what was going through my mind. In the storm he was calm. In the storm he experienced peace. I don’t want to give way to anxiety. I want to be like Jesus. And maybe the surreal nature of the perfect storm of physical, economic, health upheaval I found myself in was just more than I could take in. But I don’t think so. Because in those harried moments I did experience peace. I prayed. I called on others to pray. But I also drew on memories of other times God had been present. And stories of others who had weathered storms. And I found strength in those places of recalling.
And as I considered the next day what I “needed” for the next storm I realized that in those minutes when my world shook again there was only One thing I needed. And I had it.
There’s a lot to be said for planning. God gives wisdom. But in my wildest imaginings I wouldn’t have conjured this situation. And even if I had, what I’d planned for that moment would have been inadequate. But I see now that I wasn’t without preparation. The years of battling fear and anxiety in the spiritual realm (identifying and repenting of lies and choosing to the best of my ability to grow in trusting the Lord), the years of reading scripture, the testimonies I’d listened to of others who’d faced storms – those things were the real preparation I needed. What I was able to draw from.
Today I find myself storm weary. I’m ready for it to all just go away. I want normal. I want guaranteed safety and security. I want to feel like I have some sense of control over my life. I want the world to stop shaking, literally and figuratively.
I find my mind drifting to the opening lines of a song, “When the music fades, all is stripped away, and I simply come*.” I feel like I keep encountering these moments when all is stripped away. Every security. Every promise of tomorrow. And all I can do is come to the Father. Throw myself at his feet. Experience his comfort. Experience peace.
Eventually I will buy the flashlight. And have a storm “emergency” kit. Because it’s wisdom. But with new eyes I see that what I need most for this season of life is less to do with material preparation and more to do with ongoing heart preparation. Soaking in God’s word. Allowing his truth to penetrate my heart. Deepening my relationship with the only One who is the constant in all my life’s storms.
*Matt Redman “Heart of Worship”
One Step Further:
- What are the storms swirling in your life right now?
- As you consider those storms, some unrelenting, where do you find yourself turning for strength or in order to cope?
- What are the verses, the stories, the testimonies that draw your mind and your heart to the truth of who God is in the storm?
- How have you experienced God meeting you in the midst, when all else is stripped away?
- What do you hear him whispering to you in today’s storm?
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