Monday, August 13, 2012

Even the Winds and the Waves...

Lately, we've been working on (among other things) exercising more as a family.  It's good for us, good for bonding, it's really a win-win kind of activity.

At least it usually is.

I used to be a compulsive weather-checker.  It's right there on my phone, and I'd look at it before deciding what to wear, before going places, and while planning my day in general.  Lately, however, I'd gotten a bit bored with checking the weather, because it was the same thing - hot and humid, but no rain.  Every. Single. Day.

So, right after Dave got home from work, we drove over to a trail and headed out.  I'd heard that there was a sprinkle of rain a little ways from us, but frankly, that sounded downright pleasant in the middle of a long, hot hike through the trails, so away we went - Dave, me, the kids, and Yarbo.

A little while later, it started to sprinkle, and I was pleasantly surprised.  The wind even picked up a bit, and it felt breezy.  It was great!  Or so I thought....

A few minutes later, and it was really starting to sprinkle.  More like a rain, really.  In the meantime, one of the kids decided they really needed to use the bathroom, and we finally found a port-a-john, and let him use it.

By this time it was a full-on rain.

But we were a ways from the car, so we decided to have a challenge: Make it to the end of the bridge (about 50 yards past the port-a-john), and we'd turn around.  We had just made it to the other side and were starting to head back, when the skies opened up and just started dumping on us.

It was raining by the bucketfuls.

The wind started howling, and things were blowing everywhere.

I started to get a bit nervous.

The nervousness increased when, as we started to jog back in the direction of our car, we went back past the port-a-john, and found that it had blown over.

The thing that my son had been in only a minute ago was lying in the path, door-side down.  And everything in me knew that this was turning into a scary situation.

The rain kept getting worse and worse.  It pelted us so hard that I had marks on my skin from it later, and came so fast that I couldn't see.

We each took one of the kids, and started running.  And as we re-traced our steps, it just kept getting worse.  There was water up to our ankles in many places (which, as a side note, is very hard to run through!).

For awhile, I just tried to run with Isaac, him holding on to me, and Andy holding on to Dave.  But the rain kept coming harder, and it kept getting scarier.

Then the sirens started.

I threw Isaac onto my back and kept running, even though I couldn't see and kept tripping and falling off the path because of the rain.  After awhile, my lungs felt like they were going to explode, and I just started looking for good places to hide in, like a ditch.

Meanwhile, as we were running, we kept finding trees that had fallen across the path - which meant they had fallen in the 10-15 minutes since we had last been walking through there.

I heard Isaac continually screaming at the top of his lungs, and through the deafening noise of the torrential rain, wind, and sirens, and yelled that he should pray instead of scream.

And to my surprise, he did.

We both did.  I can't remember the last time I was that scared.  The wind was so bad that it took my sunglasses out of my shirt before I could even get them.  The water and rain were so bad that I would later find that a contact had been washed right out of my eye, and we later heard on the news that the wind in our area had reached over 80 miles an hour.

Finally, we had one more bridge to walk under, and we would make it back to our car.  The path went under the bridge, and the water was so deep that we had to pick Yarbo up, and held hands as we waded through.

Not my idea of a nice, relaxing, family bonding time.

The boys were shivering, and teeth were chattering with the cold.  We were miserable, and once we got home, we had to go to the basement with two terrified boys and a dog, because the sirens were still going off.

But as we started wrapping them with towels, and getting more ready in the dryer, we talked about God, and how He kept us miraculously safe.  I don't know how to describe how I felt when I saw the Port-a-john tipped over when my son had been in there just moments ago.  Or how it felt to know that we missed those crashing trees by a couple of minutes or less.

It was a scary, scary time, but it was a time of seeing God's faithfulness. We talked about how we memorize verses in the Bible so that we are prepared for times like that.  My kids were both able to remember Psalm 56:3-4 - When I am afraid, I will trust in You, in God whose word I praise.

Those aren't just fun little sayings.  Those were words of comfort in moments of terror for my boys.  And in those moments of shivering conversation, I became thankful for the storm.  Thankful for the chance to be in a scary situation, and yet see God's faithfulness.  We were even able to discuss what it would look like to trust God even if things had gone badly - to know that He is still good, and that He is still faithful.  We are called to trust that He knows the big picture, even when things don't make sense to us.

In those moments, I felt small, and I felt helpless to protect my family.  But the God of the Universe was so clearly watching out for us.  We are his children - we have placed our faith in him, and are depending on Him for our eternity.  How could we not trust him for a storm?

Still wet, though not shivering quite as much when wrapped with towels right from the dryer!
Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
I would have loved to have seen this happen first hand.  But I still know something: My God is so big, and so powerful, that even the storms and the winds that make me feel so small, answer to Him today, right here, right now.


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