Storm stories

It’s 2:00 a.m., and I am in the bedroom closet. Tornado warning. For days a storm has pounded my town with heavy rains and wind. As I listen to both from under a pile of sweaters, I’ve never felt closer to the Father. Strange, perhaps, but there’s no denying His presence in this moment: Only God can make the wind roar. He is here. Only God can comfort me. I sense Him. Only God can decide what happens next. And I trust Him completely.

My cell phone beeps, meaning that friends in closets, bathtubs, and hallways are checking in. Soon it’s a technological prayer meeting. We send Scriptures to each other in this chaos, wiping out fear with Truth. Here are some verses that pierce the darkness:

  • “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust!’” (Psalm 91:1-2).
  • “They cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed” (Psalm 107: 28-29).
  • “I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13).

And then comes a text from another acquaintance, someone who doesn’t believe. God to her is distant and judgmental. At this point, she doesn’t care to know Him. Even on a night like this. Or does she? The text is short: “This is bad! Scared to death. Are you?”

I sit in silence, thinking about this question. Am I scared? Is my Bible verse packin’, prayer sayin’ self for real? Do I, deep down in my gut, trust that God sees me in this closet? Or knows my preference to live another day? Do I believe that even if He takes me to Heaven now, it’ll be okay?

Then the answer washes over me: Praise God, I do! I trust Him! Years ago I couldn’t have said this—fear, confusion, and doubt enveloped me. Over time, though, He’s done a work in my heart. Storms have come and gone, trials that found my Lord faithful. The promises of James 1:2-5 are true: When tough times find you hunkered down, hang on to God. Search, cling, and anticipate. You’re about to grow, and the end result is worth it. So. Worth. It.

I look again at my phone. The text from my friend remains: “Scared to death. Are you?” The reply is honest and hopeful: Used to be afraid but not anymore. God changed me. He will change anyone who asks.

She answers in an instant, shining a glimmer of light into this dark closet: “Let’s talk soon. Bring Bible. Quick, before the next storm.”

******************************************************************

Consider it a gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get His help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

James 1:2-6 (The Message)

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