About 650 miles and 12 hours into a return trip from Colorado, we looked down the road and saw this. The weather map looked pretty ominous also. We were on the Northwest tip of this multi-colored amoeba, heading south.
Growing up in coastal Texas, I’ve seen hurricane skies and seen the wreckage caused by the tornadoes that tend to spin out of them. When the clouds form and begin to almost teem before your eyes, you head for cover.
Hurricane Celia almost took the roof off the house we were huddled in when I was a child. My sisters and I were cloistered in a back bedroom of the house melting crayons with the candles our parents had given us to keep us occupied and out of the dark. We watched with wide eyes through the fence boards over the windows at the carnage going on outside. The days following taught us most of our neighbors hadn’t been so lucky. Once most of their roofs got lifted off, the houses were defenseless against the onslaught.
All of that was getting dialed into my subconscious.
Before I could even think about whether to turn around, speed ahead, or find a place to hunker down, my Jeep was rocked by a blast from the East and my windshield was completely caked in dirt. Reaching for the windshield wipers only turned the dirt to mud. In a few seconds, however, the torrential rain and hail took care of the mud, but the wind was blowing so violently that it was separating my canvas top from the vehicle.
My wife and some of my kids were in a car just in front of me. Despite their close distance, I could barely see their flashing taillights. The noise of the storm just barely allowed our communication over the Bluetooth in our vehicles. It felt like I was yelling at them:
Keep moving forward slowly.
Let’s look for an underpass to get under.
With wife and children directly in front of me and memories of childhood storms in my rearview, I was starting to get a little anxious. But almost before I could fully think through all the implications and options, we seemed to break through the storm.
As in all the torrential experiences of our lives, even the vivid and visceral ones don’t seem so daunting in the retelling. What we think we may not survive feels more like a grand adventure as we look back. I am reminded of the words of Samwise Gamgee to Mr. Frodo when they were feeling particularly daunted in their quest for the ring.
“It's like in the great stories Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the end because how could the end be happy?
How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass.
A new day will come, and when the sun shines it'll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't.
They kept going because they were holding on to something.That there's some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fighting for.”
If you don’t believe that there are blue skies ahead…
If you don’t think the sun will eventually shine out all the clearer…
If you don’t believe that there is good ahead…
If you don’t know that you have a Father who loves you…
Who intends great things for you and has a particular plan for you…
…continuing to move through the storm is nearly impossible.
- How bad are the storms raging in your life right now?
- Are you steadily moving through?
- Are you flanked by the confidence of experience, the strength of fellowship, and the resolve of a Father’s heart for you?