Thursday, July 3, 2014
There was a time when storms were exciting--cancelled school, strong winds to play outside in, eating hot dogs and baked beans on a Bunsen burner, and the homey smell of oil lamps burning. Then came the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and suddenly, the romance of hurricane days was no more.
Mental images still flash through my mind as clear as any glossy photo in my hand--images of around-the-block lines at the gas stations for weeks after the storm, of bread and milk rationing at the grocery store, of the hum of generators instead of the hum of crickets and the fear that I couldn't pull start the machine again if it ran out of gas during the night. And that was all while living north of Interstate 12, away from the worst ravaging in New Orleans and along the Louisiana coast.
A month later, Hurricane Rita followed with more power outages, and a few short years later, another hurricane barreled through. That time, I rode out the storm with a two year old and infant twins, the winds blowing hard enough to bring the impossibly tall pine in the front yard level with the earth, all while I huddled indoors concerned about my babies sleeping without their window AC unit.
Tonight as I write this, another hurricane blows sheets of rain sideways against the house windows again, only the house is not mine.
Months ago, my parents and I began planning a trip to visit my sister in love, Liza, while my brother, Johnathan, was deployed overseas on the U.S.S. Bataan. We only thought we were leaving Louisiana for a fourth of July party and good family fun with my children loving all over their Aunt Liza. Never did we consider God had us coming at this particular time for a very different reason.
Even when we left home and started driving north, we thought surely the storm would head out to sea, but it has persistently hugged the coast, inching westward just enough to bring the storm to her home and to me and my children once again.
Hurricane Arthur is only a Category Two storm, with 100 mph winds, nothing like Katrina, and it's expected to make landfall just east of Liza's home later this evening, putting us on the "good" side of the storm as it glances off the coast and continues northward to New England and beyond. Still,the winds whip hard, strange whistling noises spooking the cat who grows big-eyed at my feet and scurries for cover in some dark corner.
I don't understand the Sovereignty of God. I don't understand how both God's Sovereignty and man's free will coexist simultaneously. Yet, by faith, I believe they do. I have to. To believe in coincidence and random acts with no meaning or purpose is chaos and doesn't line up with too much of what Scripture tells me.
In that faith, I know God sent my family here to be with Liza to "ride out the storm" with her, not because she needs us to really do anything much. But because I know it gives her and my brother half a world away both a good measure of comfort knowing we're here.
To me, our presence in this hurricane with Liza is like God saying to both Johnathan and Liza, "Do not fear, for I am with you. I'm still here. I'm still in control. I'm taking care of you both even though you may not see me and things may not be easy."
These are the moments when I feel God the most near, when I see the impossible line up to the possible, when I see how God uses me to bless another even when I wasn't aware I was doing anything that could be used for His glory.
at 7:48 PM