Last night, a violent storm front came through our region. For an extended time, lightning flashed almost continually, thunder shook the house, and massive amounts of rain fell, mixed with near 70 MPH wind gusts. It was quite intense.
This morning, I awoke to the sounds of birds chirping as they enjoyed breakfast in our yard. The air was fresh, the foliage lush, and the flowers much more vibrant. Although it is overcast, the day is quite beautiful.
Looking over the beauty around me, I was drawn to Psalmist’s words, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) Of course, it is easy to rejoice when things are calm and beautiful, but I began pondering if I would have claimed those same words as nature turned violent last night.
If you read some of my older posts, you will see that I am a big fan of thunderstorms, so the easy answer is, yes, I would rejoice because I love a good display of lightning and thunder. As I thought about the broader definition of storms however, I realized that is where a great difficulty lies.
When life is full of obvious blessings and things seem to be going our way, it is easy to rejoice and praise God for our circumstances. When the sudden storms come and turn things upside down, dampen our dreams, and shake us to the core, that is a different story. Fear steps in and tempts us to run from the chaos, toward something that appears safer. If we surrender to that temptation, we may actually be running from the storm, and from our blessing.
Certainly, not every storm is appreciated, and acting foolishly in the storm can be a destructive choice. There is wisdom in knowing how to face a storm, and when it is the appropriate time to retreat. Such decisions are the result of sound decisions, not of fear. When we take the hand of Jesus and the hands of those who love us, we ride out the storms together. We can come through chaos to the gift that is waiting in the other side.
The rich beauty surrounding me this morning is the result of the impact of last night’s storm. The grass, trees, flowers, and plants are drinking up all of the rain that fell and turning into dramatic beauty. The intense downpour turned my yard into an avian smorgasbord. The lightning ionized the air, removing dust and other particles, and making it fresh, clean, and energized. The very shaking of eight hours ago, became a loosing of beauty now.
Few people desire storms in their lives, but many of our storms are not without purpose. Sometimes, the very thing that frightens and intimidates us, is a divine tool for re-creation and new life on our journey. Old things are shaken off so new things can come forth. Dusty places are cleansed, and the air of our spirit is energized and filled with the fresh wind of God’s Spirit.
The beautiful days are indeed, the days The Lord has made, but so are the stormy ones. In all of our days, we can rejoice and be glad, for we are not alone. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, said it best on his deathbed, “The best of all is, God is with us.” In this, and the promise of a new day, we can find hope in the midst of the storm.