By Brenda Black
A disconcerting darkness groped its way nearer my sunny yard and I became acutely aware that my home sits higher than most of the properties within five miles. When threatening clouds seem to kiss the grass and lightening winks wicked, I feel terribly exposed in my wide-open spaces with normally serene bird's-eye perspective. As I surveyed the distinctively black blanket that surrounded my perch on this knoll, it appeared to encircle the house like a gigantic mushroom cap. Straight up - black. For miles every direction, a smokey, slick mass with a precisely chiseled hem. I was dead center under a brewing, menacing storm.
I don't like thunderstorms. Never have. I remember as a child repeated spring trips to a dark, damp bomb shelter that doubled as our storm refuge. On a cheerful day, it was merely a cool place for canned goods and extra storage. But when the winds blew and the rains pelted and a huge yellow speaker just near our house blared siren warnings, it personified dread and fear.
Mom and Dad were cautious and protective and ushered the family to safety at the slightest indication of a tornado. They cleverly masqueraded their concerns by entertaining us with games, flashlights and music. As amusing and distracting their efforts, I was always relieved when the brick-sized, battery-powered radio issued the "all clear."
We would march up the concrete steps,blinking off the darkness and gaze upward toward mottled skies that divulged remnants of the former threat mixed with dots of present sunshine-- A welcome sign that the storm had passed.
Today, I nearly jumped out of my skin as lightning pierced the thick shroud that hovered above, slicing heaven open and touching earth. Though warned by the bolt, I still trembled at the grumbling thunder that hammered the atmosphere and rattled house windows immediately following its usher.
I felt like I was seven again and wishing for my daddy. In one heart-pounding moment of shock, I instantly and simultaneously felt fearful and helpless.
I don't like feeling out of control. Never have. But this storm reminds me that so many things are beyond our command. And fear accomplishes nothing. When dark circumstances cloud our vision and threaten our peaceful existence, sometimes all we can do is hold on to our Heavenly Father and trust him as we seek shelter and wait for the storm to blow past.
While we at times feel trapped beneath tangible darkness, it is there where we can also find ways to abide safely. The Lord is able to provide a sanctuary in the midst of dark, uncertain surroundings and, moreover, even evoke joy in his children by his creative, caring intervention.
“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:11-12)
God's comforting touch, his wisdom and strength are worth investing our trust. It sure beats living fearfully or jittery in the face of looming storms.
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)
The skies are clearing a bit now. Once again, I'll blink back the shadowy and unnatural midday darkness in exchange for a peek at dappling sunshine and perhaps even a rainbow to reassure me that the Lord is quite in control -- even when I am not.
And once again, I will remember when clouds overtake, when lightning strikes, when thunder rolls and fear seizes the heart, I can rest in my Savior's presence.
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress. I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2)