Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tornados and other life changers...




We are waiting on a storm today. It's supposed to be a doozy. Having lived in Colorado all of my life, I am skeptical but willing to prepare for the gut punch of 12-24 inches of snow that is being predicted. In all honesty, it would be a huge blessing. We have gotten very little moisture for our hayfields this season and it will spell doom if we don't get hay again this summer. So, bring on the snow!

The weather in Colorado is a funny thing. We get everything from feet of snow to powerful tornadoes. We have areas that are prone to flooding and high desert climes. There's a little of everything, except maybe a definitive spring... We don't get much delineation when it comes to seasons. It is either wintery or summer-like.

You can literally watch an approaching storm and track the temperature dip in real time as things amp up. It is at once terrifying and awe inspiring. I have been driving into a wintery storm and watched the external temp gauge on my car drop over twenty degrees in a matter of minutes. Because we live on a divide that kind of drastic change is a matter of course.

I am watching another storm of sorts work its way into my life. I am sure you are no stranger to this phenomena either. You can feel the change in the air, things have a pressurized discomfort to them. In your desperation to relieve the stirrings you might make hasty decisions, rushing about like one who hears the far off wail of sirens. It feels like any movement is better than standing still as the clouds gather ominously and the sky blackens around you. You are certain that something huge is going to happen and you just want to hunt a hole and hide or run away where the storm cannot touch you.

While being prepared for actual weather on the horizon does have a certain call to action, the storms God sends into our lives to grow and bless us are different. The best thing to do when God decides to allow a storm to rock our little rowboat has very little to do with knowing all the answers and being prepared. It has everything to do with obedience and faithful responses. It is a time to slow down, not to move hastily. It is a time to watch in wonder and awe, not hide our heads in the sand.

I liken times like these to an approaching tornado. It can be paralyzing, a force so strong and unpredictable that it can destroy us in a moment's time. If you have ever watched a tornado there is a certain awe and fascination in their power. No matter how frightened you are, it is difficult to tear your eyes away from the incredible power they display. The green tinge you notice as they approach, the deafening silence before the equally deafening roar, the suffocating tear of wind-shear as you duck into shelter at the last minute...

God is like that tornado. In a millisecond He could tear our world apart and start all over again with a clean slate. Anything we have built up around us can be leveled with a mere breath from God. He is terrifying in His strength and unpredictability. And yet, when we emerge from the shelter provided from such stormy forces, things are clearer, cleaner, crisper. We look around and feel thankful to be alive and sometimes we see that God has spared not only us but some of the very things we hold dear. Sometimes God levels those things in order for us to refocus on what He considers more important. Heartbreaking, yes. Terrifying, certainly. Necessary, absolutely! I have to believe that He knows more than we do. That He is doing what is best for us. That truly, no matter how much pain the storm elicits God has a plan to grow us and bless us through it.

Right now I am watching as the skies darken around me. There's no funnel cloud yet, just a darkening and a gathering of things on the horizon. I am watching, praying and holding fast to God's promises.

I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out-plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. "When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. "When you come looking for me, you'll find me. I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." God's Decree. "I'll turn things around for you. I'll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you"-God's Decree-"bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it. (Jeremiah 29:11-14 MSG)