Growing up in the South I learned three things to be true: Jesus loves me, chicken is best served fried, and thunderstorms are a multi-media event. This week’s event began last week when I was at the grocery store and the bagger warned me of the storm coming in three days. It’s a culture. We talk about the weather before it happens, TV shows are canceled so we can all stay glued to the radar, and for days after we all survive we talk about where we were. Sometimes it truly is a frightening experience.
Most recently I was caught in a storm that seemed to come from nowhere. I should not have been taken by surprise. After all, the bagger boy said it would be like this. But I was driving home from music lessons with my youngest daughter when the bottom of heaven opened up. And let me tell you, heaven is a powerful place! My car felt like it would be picked up and slammed against the mountain that I just drove over and I couldn’t see to drive because the rain was coming down in torrents. I was panicked because my eldest daughter was still at home alone and the phone had cut out when she called to tell me she was scared. I had no shelter to pull over into safety and I truly was frightened. I lost my focus of who my protector is and I’m pretty sure I even said a curse word. Not my finest moment.
The next day I was talking with a friend of mine and we were comparing storm stories. Because, that’s what you do in the South. She said she was leaving work when it hit and was in her car. Fortunately for her, she had the luxury of waiting part of it out under the building’s awning. She said, “It didn’t seem that bad from under there, so I decided to try to drive home.” Famous last words.
But they struck me. Because so many times I have been under the protective awning of Jesus and thought, “Hmm, things don’t look so bad from under here. I think I will wander off on my own for a while. I can handle this alone.” But that’s when I am most vulnerable, when the most damage can be done. That’s when Jesus shakes His head at me as I walk away waving at Him over my shoulder lost in my own oblivion. Again. And I can’t ever hear him begging me not to leave over the crashing thunder. So I wander. It’s not until I find myself unable to stand against the wind that I turn around and start heading for that awning again.
Oh, that I would never leave! I could save myself so much heartache if I would never leave from under the shelter of my Savior. But He never leaves me. And he never will. He’s still under that awning waiting for me to return. He’s still there ready to heal my storm damaged heart and ask me again to stay close to Him. What a beautiful truth!
I had to ask forgiveness from my daughter for cursing that day. I regained my focus on my protector and we both prayed us safely home. I’m not proud of how I handled myself outside of the awning. But I am thankful for the reminder that I have that choice and thankful for his promise never to leave me even in the middle of my strongest storms.
“But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.” Psalm 73:28Follow BEDonham