It was a Saturday morning when I set off early for a walk. The weather forecast for the afternoon had not been good. In fact it had been pretty awful – torrential rain, gales and weather warnings. So I wanted to get out before the storm came.
It was a lovely morning: the sky a gentle blue, a light breeze and still warm enough to not need a coat.
As I walked I found myself looking around and thinking you just wouldn’t know that a storm was coming.
There was no indication or clue that a storm was on its way.
And so often in life it can happen the same way, can’t it?
We can wake up and set out into the day with everything familiar and safe and usual around us and have no idea that a storm is approaching. Until we get the phone call, or the letter, or our phone pings, or we have that conversation. Until that thing happens.
The storm arrives.
With no warning.
And we are stopped in our tracks.
It was on a walk last year at the start of lockdown that an unexpected storm hit. It began to roll in when something was shared in a conversation. Whilst the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day around me, inside, the grey clouds gathered, and the rain started to pour.
As I walk out on this pre-storm morning I wonder now if it is better to know a storm is coming or not?
What do you think?
The organising, forward planning, trouble shooting part of me wants to insist that it is. It has to be best to know, right, so that you can plan, prepare, take measures to lessen the impact?
But there’s a part of me that also knows, these many months on from my particular storm, that if I had had warning, had had time to plan, prepare, take steps to reduce the impact, I would have ended up trying to walk through that storm in my own strength. I would have tried to fix it, solve it, sort it in my own way.
As it turns out all I could do was the very best thing to do, and that was turn to Him.
Perhaps the writer of this verse had something similar in mind?
Perhaps the writer of this verse was familiar with storms?
And because all I could do was turn to Him, I found Him in ways I wasn’t expecting in my storm.
In spite of my storm.
He was in the kindness and friendship of others. He was in the sky and the birdsong, the willow trees and the water. He was in the words written by others over the years and across cultures in books and songs. He was in the quiet centre when I sought silence and was brave enough to be still.
He was there to be found. Yes. He was there to be found.
And with no warning time I hadn’t been able to plan those encounters with Him away, I hadn’t pushed Him to the edges whilst I took the driving seat. And I am grateful to know (to re-know, perhaps) that in spite of the storms, be them unexpected or otherwise, He is there to be found right alongside.
There seem to be a lot of storms around at the moment, don’t there? I certainly am aware of lots of dear folks who have hit their own grey clouds and are fighting to simply keep standing as the rains lash down and the winds whip up. Life can turn on a pin. We can slip from ok to not ok so quickly.
So, to any reading these words this day, wherever you are, whoever you are, who may be facing a storm of your own, I send so much love and share these words with you with all the strength I have in my heart –
Dear one, do not walk your storm in silence, and do not face it alone.
For you are not alone.
Look for and find the fellow travellers who can share the journey with you.
Trust that He will show Himself, for He is with you, right alongside you, right now.
This storm will pass.
But in the waiting He will bless you with kindnesses that surprise you and strengthen you.
And He will be enough.