Back in 1985, Hurricane Gloria plowed her way up the east coast of the United States. My wife and I were at home that day in our apartment in Princeton, New Jersey as the storm passed over with its strong winds, dark clouds, and torrential rains, when all of a sudden, the winds died down, the rain let up, the clouds departed, and the sun amazingly began to shine.
We made our way outside, where we mingled with our neighbors for a brief few moments in what we knew to be the eye of the storm. Sure enough, after some twenty or so minutes, the winds picked back up, the sun disappeared behind darkening skies, and the rain began to fall before soon returning to the inundation level it had been at a half hour or so before, and which it was to maintain for the next several hours.
Obviously, it was a very memorable experience that I would not soon forget. This was due, in part, because I never imagined that I would go through this experience again. Until today, that is. Last evening, Hurricane Ida, initially a Category 4, but now downgraded to a tropical storm, made her way north from the Gulf of Mexico, and moved into Tennessee. After a spate of gusty winds, the skies darkened and the rains came. And they fell all night and all morning until after lunch.
Then, suddenly, once again, my wife brought to my attention the facts that the rain had let up, that the skies had cleared, and that the sun was actually shining. While it was tempting to think that the storm was over, the weather app on my smart phone confirmed what experience had already taught us – we were once again in the eye of the storm.
Granted, Hurricane Ida was now greatly diminished. Albeit, she was still a significant storm. And she still had a punch to pack. True to form, some twenty or so minutes after her eye passed over us, her back half unleashed its fury. The clouds returned and the rains began to fall. They have now continued for the last six hours, and are expected to do so for the remainder of the night and most of the day tomorrow.
What can we make of this? To begin with, while I have never been directly struck by lightning, I have nearly been struck by lightning on multiple occasions. To my knowledge, at least three times in my life, a blue streak has passed within a few feet of me so clearly that the hair on my head and body stood on end. I pray that is as close as I ever get to getting struck by lightning!
But while I have never been struck by lightning, I have lived through the eye of the storm, so to speak – not just once, back in 1985, but once again, here in 2021.
And yet, truth be known, I have lived through the eye of the storm many more times than this. My life has been no different than that of any other person who has ever lived in that I have lived a life fraught with its share of difficulty. Like you, I am no stranger to storms. None of us is.
As more than one preacher has put it, every single person alive today is either:
1. Just now coming out of a storm; or
2. Just now in the midst of a storm; or else,
3. Just now about to go into a storm!
In light of this, the real question is: “How do we live in light of this principle?” And the answer, as best I can assert, is that we need to learn to look for peace in the midst of the inevitable storm.
As we all know, storms are a given in life. But that does not necessarily mean that we must endure them with no respite! The Bible makes this plain. Psalms 57:1 puts it this way: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”
In my life, I have faced many storms. But I have never faced a storm when there was not some degree of God’s peace to be found in the midst of it! For that, I am grateful! As well as encouraged! Why? Because I know that this is proof positive that no matter what I go through in the future, I will never face it without divine support!
Time and again (in Psalms 31, 46, 57, 62, 91, 119, etc…), the Psalmist affirms that God was his refuge in the midst of difficulty. I affirm his testimony. And I give God praise for His peace in the midst of the storms of life!
Of course, what He has done for the Psalmist, and what He has done for me, He also promises to do for you, my friend! Will you not take Him up on this?
In Mark 4:35-41, the Disciples encountered a storm on the Sea of Galilee and cried out to the Lord in its midst. In response, Jesus faithfully stilled that storm. In the process, the Disciples found a little peace in the midst of that storm.
Are you in a storm? Then cry out to the Lord and He will surely give you peace. If and when you do, as the Apostle Paul puts it (in Philippians 4:7): “…the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”