The Storm


Once, as a child, we were dead center (or so it seemed) of a really severe electrical storm; with sounds so loud the affect was a bit more like explosions on our nerves. Though, thankfully, all the family was home; family couldn't even have kept us safe.

We gathered around the kitchen table, praying first then trying to find ways to entertain each other so as to distract from all the noise. And, of course, everything within the house had been turned off and unplugged, except the kitchen light and a radio; as it was just that bad a storm. Then finally, mom got up, went over by the sink, and unplugged the radio, too; as the lightning was too close to take the chance of leaving it on. Perhaps that was our clue, lighting was near to striking.

Then, with every boom, there was a moment of silence; listening to determine if a tree would be falling on the house or whatever else might happen next. And, no matter how we tried to ignore all that noise, we couldn't help but jump when the sound seemed like a megaphone blaring in our little kitchen.

None-the-less, when lightning finally did strike our house, the thunder must have been as loud as if we were sitting in the very cloud that had made all that noise. There wasn't anyone left but what was at a nervous jitter and, of course, the baby cried.

Then came what one might have thought to be the most important moment of silence ... listening ... listening ... l i s t e n i n g. But, nothing horrible happened. We heard it. We saw it. The lightning went right by our heads, but nothing. Where did it go?

We were immediately hushed as Dad left the table to research what damage the lightning might have caused. Only by now, the silence was that we dare not make another sound until the verdict had been determined. Though it was a bit difficult, we knew this was potentially serious and we children managed to continue shaking quietly.

But still, it was a bit of a mystery as all there was, just past the kitchen, was a small utility area; a furnace, a hot water heater, a washer and a dryer ... and all appeared to be in working order. So, dad scanned the room further. There was some metal shelving with a few things on the shelf, a metal tool box (not hot) with all tools appearing to be in tact, and an ironing board and iron ... and the iron hadn't even been plugged in. That's about all that was in the room, unless you want to count dad's work shoes. So, what, now?

I'm pretty sure, by this time, dad was calling upon some Heavenly discernment, as he decided to scan the room one last time. He scanned the floor, the curtain rod, the ceiling light, switch plates. "What could he be missing?" "The walls, maybe it went through the wall. Look for a hole or something in the wall."

He looked and looked, then ... there, he saw it; the electrical box. Oh, my! Just barely a few feet from where we were sitting, lightning had come through the house and stuck the electrical box. On the outside cover of the box, one of the four screws had been burned out; which was barely an inch from electrical power.

Next, dad tested the box itself, to be certain it wasn't hot or having electrical current running through the metal cover. Then, once he concluded it might be safe to open, he did and it was determined that all electrical wiring remained in tact. Shew! That was it? Lightning only hit one little screw? Now, what are the odds of that?

Though the storm didn't stop right away, parents reasoned that, for God to protect us from something as close as that, we could be assured we'd be safe through the rest of this storm. Then, mom turned the radio back on and left us children the option to leave the table, whenever we felt comfortable to do so.

While having never been amidst such an extreme electrical storm since, God already knew this early experience would prove beneficial to me as an adult.

________________

As it happened, for twenty years, we lived in a small rural community surrounded by miles and miles of farming flatland. And, as we were located, it was quite common for our house to be slammed with 50 mph winds and sometimes greater; whether those winds included rain, snow, hail, ice, blizzard, or debris. And though the older windows had been storm window covered, glazed, caulked, stuffed, drapery and blind covered, and once even blanket covered to slow down the effect, it would sound as if every next slam against the house would be the one that caused windows to pop out or break.

Yet, even though childhood fear was not knowingly present, these episodes would produce reoccurrence of that same jittery feeling I had experienced as a child. And as it were, I couldn't seem to make my jumpiness stop. Though, I did not want to impose fear on my children; even by my appearance of such.

Therefore, considering that, put with other weather experiences (like tornadoes, ice storms, white outs, blizzards, ice storms, and even our house once being buried in snow) and witnessing the undesirable wining of some with even the slightest weather change, it gave me confidence in God concerning such things and left clues as to how to pray more effectively.

So, when I first began coming to God regarding the weather, I just told Him how I saw it to be ... that He knows exactly how much water we need, and how much outdoor plants and trees need (and, whether we think they need that much or not, He knows if a dry spell is coming next week) ... that He knows just how much cold we need, to keep bugs from taking over, etc ... and that I appreciate all those things and am thankful He takes care of it (and I don't have to), that He knows how to do it better than me, and so I won't tell Him how to do His job.

None-the-less, in addition to already loathing the crippling and victimizing feeling of fear, I do not want to dishonor God in even the appearance. So, concerning storms, all I ask is that He, please, not terrorize us ... that He not allow what He is doing, with the weather, to terrorize us ~ as terror does not come from God. Thus, wherever the blame goes, just don't let us be terrorized. That's all I ask.

Whether a perfect prayer or not, it worked. I didn't need to 'know' if I said the words exactly right. I did not have to ask forgiveness for unknown unrelated sin, and I didn't even have to get on my knees. Neither did I ask God to get rid of the storm or tell Him how to get the job done. Also, I didn't have to relive an old experience to overcome and become a better me. It was the noise that most affected me and all I asked was for God, however He would so choose, to help me honor Him by meeting my need ... and He did.

Soon in awe, it was amazing! Drawing hubby to our kitchen window, we stood and watched rain spinning on a neighboring roof, while we couldn't tell it was even touching our house. When wind came from another direction, it appeared to bypass us altogether. When tornadoes didn't land, I'd finally go outside to see why so much silence, then run to call my daughter to come see what God had just done. It would suddenly be a beautiful sunny day, with no sign there had ever been a storm at all!

I can change the weather; not by my works but just by bringing the need of my heart to God ~ every time. It is not a bit uncommon, as happened this year, among other storms, that a 6"-10" snow prediction hit our entire part of the state, except that it did a horseshoe around the entire city we now live in. As it was, my youngest needed safe traveling to get home with her babies and God left her a clear wide path.

In fact, one year, the TV meteorologist got replaced for his lack of accurate predictions; poor guy. Do you suppose they would have believed me had I told them it wasn't his fault?

While I make no claim to having obtained in all areas of life, I look forward to that possibility and, in the meantime, know this. We limit God when we tell Him how to meet our need. Just know that He loves us enough to get the job done.

2005 by Joyce C. Lock

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