The Lee of the Storm

radar image of isaac storm over arkansasLast week, my family and I monitored the news channels as we watched Hurricane Isaac crawl north across Louisiana, leaving flooding and wind destruction in its wake.

This wasn’t our first time preparing for a storm to hit.  Living in rural Arkansas, we frequently deal with power outages, sometimes lasting several days.

I got the generator out and tested it.  We bought extra fuel and extra food.  We did all we could to minimize potential wind damage by moving things inside, or securing objects likely to be blown around.

Then we went about our business while waiting for the storm to hit.  Except…it never really hit…or at least not the violent storm we were expecting…

The eye of Isaac, now reduced to tropical depression status, ran straight up the center of Arkansas.  We watched the news as people in Eastern Arkansas dealt with strong winds and torrential rain.

However, the same counter-clockwise rotation that hammered regions east of the eye with strong winds and rain carried up from the gulf, provided regions west of the eye with mild winds and soft rain depleted of strength and ferocity.

While Eastern Arkansas dealt with a vicious storm, Western Arkansas enjoyed two full days of much-needed gentle rain.

I almost felt guilty thanking God for the blessing of much-needed rain, knowing the same storm dished out devastation to nearby regions.

I wonder if this is, perhaps, a brief glimpse of how the ancient Israelites may have felt, celebrating their new freedom as their Egyptian neighbors mourned the loss of their first-born children.

Yet, that is the way of life’s storms isn’t it?  Devastation and blessing unexpectedly descending simultaneously…though the blessing is often difficult to see at the time.

And, for the believer in Christ, we have this promise, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are  called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28)…all things…including devastating storms of life…

Your thoughts?

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22 thoughts on “The Lee of the Storm

      • Sometimes when we go through the “storms of life” it’s really hard to even imagine that He could work something good out of it. Seeing Jack go through what he’s going through now, is one of the most difficult experiences I , and he, too have ever had to live through on this earth. Pray for God’s mercies.

        • Yes, I can imagine it is, June!

          Praying for both of you, while trusting God to know how to work His will for your good, even in this.

          Love you both, so much!

  1. Yes, most of life is like this–a mixture of sorrow and blessing and usually going on at the same time. We enjoyed the steady rains as well up here in Southern Illinois, but I’m praying for those who were hit the hardest. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Joe, always thought-provoking!

    • Yes, definitely prayers and assistance for those hardest hit by the storm.

      Perhaps thats part of why the same storm brings blessing to some and devastation to others…so we will be in a position to encourage and help our neighbors…

      Thank you, Beth!

  2. So SO true, Joe. I couldn’t help but notice as I was watching too, that the horrible devastation south meant much-needed rain for the midwest. Mixture of devastation and blessing. Good observations!

    • Somehow those times of devastation seem a bit more bearable, knowing there’s a blessing somewhere in the same storm, aren’t they?

      Good to see you, LauraLee!

  3. Interesting connection to the Israelites and the Egyptians — I never considered that! But you make a great point – Life is nearly always a mixed bag, isn’t it?
    Thanks for making me think, Joe!

    • I discovered a few years ago that the Passover Meal includes bitter herbs to remind the participant of the bitterness of slavery under Pharaoh, and includes salt water to remind the participant of the tears of the Egyptians who lost their first-born children.

      It’s an interesting meal designed to evoke a mixture of emotions ranging from bitterness and sorrow to joy and thankfulness, all surrounding remembrance of the same event.

      The same approach seems applicable to much of life, I think.

      Thank you, Susan!

    • Thanks for stopping by Alicia!

      Without faith, the hard stuff of life would seem unbearable, I think. Christ is our only anchor who holds thru all of life’s storms.

  4. So true! We had Isaac visit here before it became a hurricane. The kids and I had great discussions about prayer and trust in God. It was a good reminder for my own heart in preparing and enduring the storms of life.

    • I agree! It’s a good opportunity to stop and assess, “if all this was taken from me…my home, my car, my job, everything…what would I have left of value?”

      I think we all need that sort of values realignment from time to time.

      Thanks for sharing, Christina!

  5. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair how the storms of life might devastate good people while some not-as-good people are blessed. We’ve all seen it: the god-fearing individual suffers serious consequences and the atheist gets rich and famous. But as you said it all works together for “good” in the end. I’ve personally been on a tough journey as a child victim of a cult and a victim of divorce due to extreme mental illness. It’s made me stronger, given me a story to share. I wouldn’t trade my difficulties for the easy life. Nice post, Joseph. I’ll check back again soon.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Dan!

      Yes, I’ve concluded that our sense of “fairness” must be a poor reflection of God’s sense of “justice,” because the two don’t seem to align well…at least not to the extent of how far our vision can usually see…

      And yet, as you said, I wouldn’t trade the life experience of those storms for anything. God used those storms to help make me who I am, today.

      And there is something about knowing I’ve weathered a few storms…that I’ve clung to that anchor through the storm…and the anchor held…and the storm ended.

      Yes, I may have been left wondering the purpose of the storm and the seeming capricious unfairness of it. Yes, I may have wondered why I couldn’t have either said “Peace be still” or walked on water to avert the devastation of the storm.

      Yet, there is nothing like the quiet confidence of knowing My God is faithful through the storms! And there is nothing to compare to the lessons learned from those experiences.

      Thank you, Dan, for such an encouraging comment!

  6. Living in FL, I can definitely relate to getting ready for storms and then having anticlimactic weather. I love how you’ve compared this to the Israelites and Egyptians. I can’t help but think about my own storms vs. storms of friends and church family. We all have paths God has asked us to walk and while I’m looking at my friend’s path and thinking “thank you God for giving me the path I’m on”, she’s thinking the very same thing about her own. 🙂 Great post!

    • Yes, the storms and blessings are different for each of us, aren’t they?

      It’s easy to lock-in on the storms in our own lives.

      Hopefully, I can learn to be more thankful for the blessings in my own life as well as more aware of the storms in the lives of others.

      Thank you, Mindy!

  7. Great Point! Something to definitely remember whenever we ourselves are in the midst of the storm and experiencing devastation. To remember that thru this God is showering his blessings as well 😉

    • AMEN!

      Yes, even though it can be difficult to see, at the time, we can be confident that every devastating storm also carries showers of blessings.

      I love you, my sweet daughter!

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