Spring in Texas makes me think about tornadoes. Maybe it’s because we came face to face with a tornado on May 27, 1997 as we drove down I-35 bound for south Austin. Imagine how it feels to look out your car window and see a big, picture perfect funnel only a couple miles to the west. It was the first tornado of the day, and the violent storm system was headed south, just like we were. We managed to stay thirty minutes ahead of the ominous black skies, tuning in to local radio stations the whole way. When we finally arrived at my sister-in-law’s house, the kids took cover in the bathtub while the adults listened to the grim news reports and gawked at the small trees in the front yard spinning frantically.
There were 20 confirmed tornadoes that day, lasting six hours. It was an unbelievable day.
That day isn’t the only reason I connect spring, Texas, and tornadoes, though. I grew up hearing how my mom sheltered at school when her town was devastated by a killer tornado. My grandparents, aunts and uncles had tornado cellars. Tornadoes are just a part of the landscape around here, especially in the spring. However routine, though, they are never welcome, they are never predictable, and they are always stressful. Just ask the people of my community who lost their homes the day after Christmas in 2015, or the people of East Texas just this past week.
My family is prepared to weather storms. We have a history of preparedness. We know the signs of a tornado day. We know where to go, what to take into our safe place, even what to wear. Rick and I have been ducking and covering as a family for almost 36 years.
My family is prepared to weather other kinds of storms, too. For 32 years, we’ve been weathering storms as a special needs family. At first, we ducked and covered. What else can you do when you’re slammed with a reality you’re not prepared for? Then you learn to trust God in a real, honest, everyday way. You get to your feet and stand in faith. With every storm, you might be knocked down, but it’s to your knees. And you stand on the truth of Psalm 91:4 when it says, “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
We don’t always enjoy the storms of life; in fact, we never do. But we love the benefits that come afterwards: we grow. We persevere. We experience God in a deeper way. Personal growth, perseverance, and experiencing God on a deep level are things that happen when we depend on Him when times are hard. These are extraordinarily good things that happen during extraordinarily hard times.
When you go through a storm, just know this: it will pass. You will get through it. Have faith in Jesus. He will walk you through the storm. Afterwards, reflect on how far He brought you. Even when it seemed like He was silent, be assured, He wasn’t. He was covering you with His feathers. You were safe under His strong wings.
When you look at the damage your storm has spawned and realize you’re still standing, fall to your knees in gratitude for His faithfulness that shielded you, even though His protective touch was as light as a feather.
And prepare for the next storm, because it will come. But so will He.
Image: Tulen Travel, Unsplash