Today it’s raining in Houston. Actually, an amazing storm is travelling into our area. All the elements that make a storm so wonderful to watch, hear and marvel about is happening just outside my high-rise office window. Time and time again, I have said a good storm is such a peaceful occurrence for me. The only drawback about being at work is that I can’t fully appreciate all that this good storm has to offer, but from where I office (with an almost panoramic view of half the city), I am afforded another opportunity: I can see the storm coming in on one side and watch as it wraps itself around the building. As I peer through the windows and watch the storm coming my way (looking for any signs of a tornado) the views across the Galleria are breathtaking, and I am again reminded of what an awesome God we serve: One who can change, in a matter of moments, blue skies to black; a serene sky into a thunderous, rebellious landscape armed with dead bolts of lightning striking in dazzling arrays of silver, blue and green, and in a flash, dry land to overflowing tributaries! And the rain, what a sound as it forcibly strikes and pelts the building. What an awesome vision: a storm rolling in.
As the storm strolls along I begin to count 1001, 1002, 1003 to measure its distance from me. The dark clouds are transitioning to gray, the lightning is no longer brilliant and shiny, but appears to embrace the area with quick hugs of thunder; the twinkling of building lights against the blackened storm no longer shine forth and the high risers dimly emerge from the shadows of the storm. The battle (whatever it was) appears to be over and the army (clouds, thunder, lightning and rain) marches forward in pursuit of another battle and in a last ditch effort to declare its’ awesomeness (least we forgot the power of the great storm), we hear the finale – a declaratory, boisterous boom leading into a symphony of thunderous melodies and almost immediately the rebellion softens upon my ears and the storm dramatically embraces another area, with another symphony of music and landscape. Left behind is a view drenched in rain, gloomy but the grass, trees and nature are rejoicing because they have been refreshed.
Alas, the storm is gone and the sun is happily peering out. There are still a few billowy gray clouds hanging out, but they are moving steadily doing what they do, perfecting whatever purpose they have. In the distance, proudly flapping high atop a building is an American flag, seemingly untouched by the passing storm. It too appears to be flaunting it mightiness, its awesomeness, its strength, its frazzled survival. Waving back and forth under an unseen wind that propels it this way and that way, I am so reminded of life and our storms. Just like the flag, we stand amidst the storm; we lay ourselves down and surrender knowing that the rage of the storm is only for a moment. For only a moment are we in the dark; only for a moment are we encircled in a symphony of music that in the end shapes our landscape and nurtures the very fiber of our being. And when the storm passes, we like the flag are lifted by the unseen wind, we stand strong, frazzled, drying off, shaking off the rain, we might be a little tattered, a little weakened, but we stand strong: We continue to rise.
Father, how can we ever get to the point where we truly appreciate the storms in our lives? Too often we want to complain and murmur instead of rejoicing when those storms roll in knowing fully well that this too shall pass and that even in those times when we don’t see you, we know that you are with us. Father we thank you for shaping us. Teach us to rejoice in our storms, just as your word says “Rejoice, I say. Rejoice!” In Jesus name we so pray. Amen.