"You called in distress and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder..."
Psalm 81:7 (Amplified Bible)
Today marks the eighth anniversary of one of the most catastrophic events to take place on American soil. I remember that azure blue sky on September 11, 2001. It was just before 9:00 a.m. when the phone rang. I can still remember the urgency in his voice as my father told me to turn on the television. I watched in absolute shock and disbelief as a jet slammed into the second tower of the World Trade Center. My father-in-law had retired from the New York Port Authority several years earlier. His offices were in the World Trade Center. As I watched the aftermath of the explosion on my television screen, my mind was transported back to the day Rob and I had entered that same lobby to meet his dad for lunch in one of the towers now engulfed in flames.
I don't know how I knew in those early moments after the explosions, but I had a sickening feeling that part of my innocence had been taken away by force. I sank to my knees and cried, not knowing how life was going to change, but knowing that it most definitely had in a short span of time. I felt violated and vulnerable. The following days were filled with confusion, horror, and anger over what had happened.
Girlfriends, the longer I live, the more I realize that this life is a series of storms. There are some storms that come upon us with no warning--like the attack we experienced eight years ago. It is a horrible feeling to be caught so off-guard as the lightning flashes and the thunder rumbles loudly in our ears. And the terror is overwhelming when we cannot easily see a refuge in which to hide while we wait for the storm to end.
My pastor said something last Sunday that I cannot get out of my head. It certainly has been true in my life's experience as a believer in Jesus Christ. He said, "Either you are in a storm, you are coming out of a storm, or you are just entering a storm."
The first place of my focus in the storm is on the tempest. I become consumed with the terror that the wind and waves cause in my soul. I feel abandoned and alone and horribly unprotected.
Nothing could be further from the truth! Because, see, my God is the Master of the storm! While I might be in the eye of the storm at this very moment, certain that this is the one that will break me in two, His eye is on me! He knows exactly where I am even though I cannot see Him. Listen to these incredible words from His Scriptures:
The LORD is slow to anger and great in power;
the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
and clouds are the dust of his feet.
Nahum 1:3 (NIV)
The LORD does whatever pleases him,
in the heavens and on the earth,
in the seas and all their depths.
He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
he sends lightning with the rain
and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
Psalm 135:6-7 (NIV)
The lightning, the rain, the thunder are all His! He calls them out of His storehouses. The storm is never a surprise to my Jesus--not ever. And if He is the Master of the elements, then the storm must end when He says it must. So the clouds in my life are actually evidence of His presence!! Oh--but I don't see that this is the truth with my blind eyes. And that is the purpose of the storm--to see the One who sees me. I get so comfortable, so ugly with others, so ungrateful when I am not desperate in the eye of the storm. My Abba is in the middle of the storm and everything is going to be okay.
Rejoice, my sweet sisters! Our God reigns. He is mighty to save. We must let Him quiet us with His love today. We must be still and know that He is God and He does whatever He wishes. And above all of those truths is the unbelievable fact that He loves us with the purest love imaginable. His intentions and plans for us are NOT TO HARM US! But to give us a hope and a future! Surely, our God is good to us, especially in the storm.
Jesus, I just don't see things the way You do. I so often think that the storm is a punishment--like I have been rejected by You. How foolish I am to not understand that You hold all creation in the palm of Your hand. Nothing can touch me without Your permission. Comfort me today. The storm's purpose is to let me see a new side of You I have never seen before. It allows me the privilege of throwing myself on You so that I can see Your awesome power to still the storm. And what I take with me on the other side of the tumult is a treasure of true joy and peace that could not be bought for all the money in the world. The eye of the storm is You, and Your tender and compassionate eye is on me.