I’ve learned that watching the weather in the South is similar to watching a soap opera. Entering from stage south we have tropical disturbance 99 but little does it know it’s coming into a very hostile atmospheric situation, causing little more than some cloudy skies and some minor rain fall. But wait, what’s this? Isabel over Cuba is becoming very organized, look how beautiful her eye is (she lost the other eye in a cat fight) so clear and concise! And she’s got nothing but warm inviting waters ahead of her with no wind shear to slow her down. It looks like she’s heading straight for Florida….wait, looks like she set her eye on Texas now. Well, just to be safe the whole gulf coast better get ready because “hell hath no furry like a woman scorned.”
Coming from the Pacific Northwest where our weather reports consisted of snow storms or forest fires there’s been a lot we’ve had to learn so we can understand all the twist and turns that can happens so quickly. For my non-southern friends there’s four steps in the development of a hurricane. It starts as a disturbance, then depression, tropical storm, a hurricane, and then it starts climbing the category ladder. On the way to drop my daughter off at school this morning I told her that the tropical disturbance in the gulf was going to bring in some rain over the next few days. She giggled and said, ”I love that it’s called a disturbance.”
For those of you who read my blog you know I’m a little bit of a word geek. So I decided to “get out” the dictionary and look some up.
Disturbance – the interruption of a settled and peaceful condition, the disruption of healthy functioning.
Depression- the action of lowering something or pressing something down, a sunken place
Storm – a violent disturbance of the atmosphere, a tumultuous reaction, a violent or noisy outburst of a specified feeling or reaction
Hurricane/Cyclone – I think we all know the meaning of this but the original Greek word meant coil of a snake.
As I looked up these definitions I realized that the steps for storms are the same as in our personal lives. Our peaceful lives get suddenly disrupted, things start moving the wrong direction, winds and waves we didn’t anticipate suddenly show up clouding our beautiful sunny skies with questions, unknowns, and fear. Unfortunately at times we find ourselves greeting these disturbances with warm welcoming waters and feeding it our fears so that it grows into a a full blown depression. We allow it to push us down and wallow in the depths of despair. Our souls become tumultuous, we live in the constant noise of doubts, what if’s, and why me’s. We find ourselves struggling to breath as the coils of the snake wrap tighter and tighter around us. At times I think we make our own hurricanes out of disturbances. We let our imaginations run wild with all of the “what if’s” and create a monster that was only supposed to be a “heads up”.
What if instead when we are met with a disturbance we took it as that, an interruption. When the weather channel announces a disturbance it’s a good time to take a look around and take account and start making preparations. The same is true in our life. At the onset of a disturbance we can take account of where we are with Christ. Spend extra time in prayer, in the Bible, reaching out to friends to seek a steady hand, love and counsel. Maybe a disturbance is all it is this time. If it ends up being more, you’re prepared. The winds begin to get stronger with each passing day. Each time you try to catch a breath the weatherman comes on with, “but wait….there’s more!” The rain threatens to drown you, the constant roaring from the storm is deafening. It feels like this might be the end. But God. “Then He arouse and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.” Mark 4:39 Sometimes the wind that ceases is our own fears shrieking in our minds, and the storm around us still rages on. Sometimes He brings us into the eye of the storm to allow us to catch our breath. He shows us a glimpse of who He is to remind us that He is in control no matter what the winds of our storm our screaming at us.
If we’ve learned anything over the last 18 months, it’s that life can spin quickly and wildly out of control. In the midst of all the voices screaming for your attention, the fears constantly being hawked on the street corners, the unknowns that threaten to drown us, God is in control and is offering us peace.
1 Peter 5:8-10 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.”
As always, I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail.