Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Grace in the Storm

I'm sitting inside a warm, dry house. We never lost power, but thanks to Hurricane Irma, yesterday was the windiest day I have ever experienced. As far as I can tell, the worst thing that has happened to us is that we lost one tree in the backyard . . . and the stray cat that adopted us a year or so ago might think she is an indoor/outdoor cat now after we brought her inside to protect her from falling debris. 

But all you have to do is turn the TV on and you can see that there is so much devastation all around us. Storms of different kinds are all over the place. Harvey in Texas. Irma all over the Caribbean and the Southeast. Western states are on fire and have been for months but it isn't making national news. They are losing homes and acres and acres of precious natural lands. Earthquakes in Mexico. And that's just some of what's happening in North America. There's a whole big world out there, and we aren't the only ones being hit and hit hard.

Your storm may not have anything to do with the weather or natural disasters. It may be the illness of a loved one, a marriage in crisis. A child on a devastating path. Financial woes that never let up. 

If you feel like you have nothing left, I want to share something with you that God showed me this week as I watched the hurricane coverage.

Have you seen the videos/images of the water being sucked out of the bays and away from islands? The first one I saw was video from the Bahamas and when it first popped up on my Facebook feed, I couldn't figure out what I was seeing. But then it happened again and again as Irma made her way to the US. The Tampa Bay event received quite a bit of news coverage. 

In case you didn't see it, it turns out that as the storm comes by, it literally sucks the ocean away from the shore. People can walk around on ground that used to be the bay because the water is g-o-n-e. It's absolutely fascinating and awe-inspiring to think of the natural phenomenon that is taking place.

As the storm passes, the water will return and things will return to “normal” - but during the storm Tampa Bay was empty. Dry. The reporters and people they interviewed kept going on about how they’d never seen anything like it. I certainly hadn't. 

It turns out that it takes a very big and powerful storm to do this.

I watched, completely fascinated, but then as He so often does, I felt that stirring in my spirit and God showed me something.

He isn't surprised by this at all. He knows this happens in nature and He knows this happens in our lives. 

We all have a certain tolerance for a “reasonable” amount of storm activity. We all get up and go about our day with various small storms - maybe even tropical force or Category 1 storms - brewing around us.

But the BIG storms quite literally suck us dry. We have nothing left to give because all our energy has been taken up by this powerful storm. 

And yet we beat ourselves up over it. We say horrible things to ourselves and feel extraordinary amounts of guilt because we’re so tired and so empty, but God is not seeing it that way. 

He sees our dry bays. He sees the empty shorelines. He knows the category 5 level storms we are facing and He is not sitting there wondering why we can’t get our act together and deal with it because *HE KNOWS* what has happened.

Others may not see it. They may not understand it. 

But God knows. God sees. He is still 100% in control. 

If you're walking around every day like those crazy reporters, hunched over in the wind just trying not to get blown away, my prayer for you (and for me) is that we will relax in the grace God has shown us. That we will rest in the knowledge that He is not expecting more of us that we can give. 

In his time, the water will return to the bay. The waves will again lap along the shore. The storm will pass. 

Be kind to yourselves friends. Give yourself and those going through huge storms around you the same grace He gives. 

Grace and peace,


Cathy Baker said...

I'd never seen anything like that before either, Lynn. Your analogy is spot on and I join you in praying for all those who suffered as a result of Irma (and Harvey).

Sandra Allen Lovelace said...

Amen. Thank you for this insightful article. If for no other reason, God's use of Hurricane Irma to display His power and sovereignty was enough.