Storms in Alabama

You may have heard about the severe weather that passed through Alabama and other areas of the deep South the week of April 27th. The storms were strong and destructive, everyone in my area was without power for about a week, and many people lost their homes and all of their earthly possessions. My daily living is back to "normal" now, as there was not much material damage to my direct community, but many around me are still facing some of the most difficult earthly trials of their lives. Thankfully, many are stepping up to help, and hopefully the gestures each of us makes towards these folks will make a difference and bring them comfort as well as real, practical support. It stands out to me when people make comments, such as saying "God was with you" when someone explains how they survived the storm and didn't endure much "damage," when the truth is that God is everywhere all the time, with a plan and power to do whatever is best, and He is with His children always! Over and over, I heard a man say on the radio that these storms were perfect, that they were put together so well, that they were structurally sound and would hold together over long distances. Words like these can inspire religious fear, since we know what these deadly storms can do, but it's also amazing to think about the way nature works, the nature God created in all His power and glory.

 A tornado forms when the atmosphere is struggling, working against itself with hot air and cold air not switching gracefully, usually when cold air is moving in and hot air doesn't gently move along to make way for the cold. An ongoing characteristic of a human life that is seeking and hoping to live for God is struggle, struggle between two wills - the will of man and the will of God. Every day in a million situations, in relationships, and even in tiny little actions, this struggle goes on in man's soul as he chooses between God's will and his own. By God's grace, we walk up to a crossroads and have to decide which way to go, and that decision can be like the gentle, graceful movement of hot air to cold air, a little bit of wind or a shower maybe, or it can be like the agitated, confused, whirling struggle of a tornado, destroying what's in the way to make way for the new. I believe God leads us into storms sometimes, spiritual storms, storms in our hearts and minds, to bring us to the place we need to be. Places of stillness, places of awe at His power, places of having lost things that perhaps we were clinging to over vehemently, places of starting over from scratch. Whatever place He brings us to, if we are still and know He is God, if we let go of what is insignificant or distracting, if we lay aside weights that are pulling us down and become more focused on Him, if we stand up and run the race that is before us, trusting Him to provide what we need, we can be sure God was and is with us in a mighty way!