As we were all getting into the van tonight after being out for the eveing, we noticed a storm was brewing. Lightning was flashing across the sky as we all scrambled to get into the van. For a while it seemed as if it was just going to be lightning and wind threatening us. About 20 minutes into our 45 minute drive the bottom fell out of the sky. As the minutes went by the rain began to come down harder and harder. The rain became so hard that you could hardly see the car in front of you, and it began to hail. As the hail was bouncing off of the roof and hood of the van we could barely hear each other talk. The hail lasted a little over 5 minutes, but at the time it seemed as if it was an eternity. The rain kept pounding. As we came to a stretch in our journey where the road is surrounded by fields and there are no houses or businesses, the sky became extremely black. It seemed as if the sky was pressing down on us as the rain continued to pour. It felt lonely, as if we would never see the light again. Gradually we could see hints of light, and the rain began to abate. As we came to an area that is peppered with businesses the rain stopped. The shiny appearance of the road and the signs still wet from the rain gave everything a clean, new appearance. I began to relax from the tenseness that had built up in riding through the storm. I could still see lightning in the distance, and the possibility of another storm coming, but for that moment there was peace.
As I contemplated the storm and all of the emotions it brought along, I began to think of storms that I have had in my life, and of friends who are in the midst of their own storms right now. Often we can look ahead of us and see a storm brewing, with situations resembling lightning flashing in the distance. As the storm comes closer we can feel the wind blowing against us, then the rain begins to fall. Sometimes the rain gradually gets worse and sometimes it comes in an instant downpour. We can’t stop the storm, keep the lightning from flashing, the wind from blowing or the rain from falling. What matters most is what we do when the inevitable storms do come upon us.
Did we prepare for the storm when we saw the first hints of it. Did we ground ourselves in God’s word and go to Him in prayer, or did we think we could handle things just fine on our own? When we began to see things getting worse did we ask for Godly counsel and spend even more time in study and prayer, or did we continue trying to handle things on our own? As the storm became seemingly unbearable did we cower in the corner hoping it would pass quickly, or did we search for His truth and pray for wisdom in how to handle the situation, trusting that God was in control at all times?
When we are in the midst of the storm it is important to remember that we are not on a ship being tossed about on the waves without anyone to guide and steer us. We have only to take the time to read His word, turn our eyes toward Him, and ask for wisdom.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
James 1:2-8 (ESV)