I was sitting in a meeting last week and others gathered around the conference table kept looking at their phones. After a few minutes someone said, “We should wrap this up because hail and very strong winds are heading our way. We have 20 minutes to get home to safety.”
People started gathering their belongings and packing up their bags. Before I could say, “Meeting adjourned,” chairs were being pushed in and lights shut off as people started dashing for their cars. In Texas, when you hear hail and possibly tornadoes are heading your way, you don’t ignore it so everyone scattered and headed to get their cars under cover and be ready to dive into a closet.
Me. I was 176 miles away from home.
A friend was about 30 miles from home but her family had already lost power and were hunkered down in a closet.
So we made a plan. Find cover to protect our cars. And we decided to do it together. As the sky turned ominous and the rain started, I watched my clock as the 20 minutes to impact approached. My friend and I drove to a carwash and pulled our cars into bays built of cinderblock. I jumped out of my car, ran around and got into hers.
We sat in our semi-protected spots and talked and laughed in between phone calls from her husband giving us weather updates.
Side note: My husband had no idea storms were heading my way. Her husband is a farmer and is very aware of storms and the danger they can do. Thank goodness he was giving us updates otherwise I would have been like Dorothy driving into tornadic winds.
From the shelter of our carwash bay, we watched the rain come down sideways as the wind whipped through the area. We felt safe and secure.
The storm blew through in about fifteen minutes and Mr. Farmer gave us the all clear to get on the road. I jumped in my car and off my friend and I went. Both of us heading north on the highway out of town. Me, keeping an eye on the lightening ahead.
But we kept calling each other. Or, really, my friend kept calling me.
“Did you just blow by me on the highway?”
“Stay in the far right lane. That stretch of road ahead is very dangerous. Lots of fatalities there.”
“Keep your eyes peeled for downed trees and standing water. It’s so dark you might not see it. Mr. Farmer said there is a ton of standing water and tree branches on the road out by our house.”
And so it went as I drove. Hours later as I was getting close to my home, I texted her, “Hit hail. Pulled off. Hope I don’t have damage.” And several minutes later, “Home. Safe and sound.”
As I drove out of town, the lightening filled the sky with brilliant streaks. One minute it was pitch dark and the next a bolt of lightening flashed from east to west. Sometimes the bolts went to the ground and I wondered if it hit something. Scary and stunning.
As I drove with my eyes peeled for standing water – which I did hit several times without warning – and downed branches, I thought about the good and the bad of a rainstorm.
We need the rain – but not the hail and the wind. The lightening is beautiful – until it hits something or someone.
We don’t always get gentle rain showers to nourish the land, grow the crops and fill the lakes and rivers. Most times, we get mighty strong storms that do damage and cause chaos. This year we have experienced more deadly storms across our country than I remember in the past.
I don’t mind the storms as long as I know they will pass quickly and the sun peeks out afterwards. I love to see the thunderheads and the lightening in them.
But most of the time, I like the gentle rains in my life. I like the predictability and peace of a gentle rain. Oh, I’ve had storms and have taken cover until they passed but I prefer the gentle rains.
We all have storms in our lives. Whether it is sickness, job uncertainty, family issues, or any number of things, we all experience storms.
My storm of late blew fierce last night. I took cover and am trying to wait it out.
For nearly a year now, we have been living in temporary housing. We sold the house we designed, built and loved and moved 176 miles north. We put our belongings in storage for “a few months” and shopped for a house. “A few months” has turned into many months. We’ve put offers on five houses and didn’t get them even though we offered a stupid amount over asking. Last night was the latest disappointment.
I know that doesn’t seem like a big storm to most people but a home is very important to me. Having our belongings in boxes isn’t ideal. It’s not just about being surrounded by stuff. Our home has always been a place where we gathered people for Bible studies and small groups. We’ve hosted baby showers, wedding showers, birthdays, prom dinners and graduation parties. We’ve gathered family and friends for meals and celebrations. We’ve been a place of refuge for a few homeless young adults. Being in limbo isn’t how we usually live our lives.
So, I think back to what I said to my friend as we were driving away after the worst of the storm.
We need the rain but with it often comes the uncertainty of the wind, hail and lightening. After the storm has passed, the sun comes out.
So, today, I seek the Son and wait for this storm to pass. I will look for the good and the God in it all.
The lyrics to a worship song come to mind.
Rain came and wind blew
My house was built on you
I’m safe with you
I’m gonna make it through
‘Cause my house is built on You
Christ is my firm foundation
The rock on which I stand…
When everything around me is shaken
I’ve never been more glad
That I put my faith in Jesus
Cause He’s never let me down
He’s faithful through generations
So why would he fail now?
He won’t fail
I realize a lot of you are dealing with bigger storms than trying to buy a house and my list of prayers for you is long. I feel a little guilty whining about not having a home to call my own but as one of my daughters said, “Her last name is literally HOUSE.” Yep, my maiden name is House and it’s sort of ingrained in me.
I’ll keep praying for you as you face your storms. Will you offer up a little prayer for a house for my family?
In the meantime, let’s focus on God’s faithfulness. He won’t fail to be faithful.
Go listen to the song! He Won’t