The Tornado

It had been a few days of normal routine and she was tired from being too busy. As she headed for home after a hectic day working with students, she noticed how calm the air felt. Almost stifling, but not hot. She had not talked to Jesus since her time with Him on the boat so she quickly breathed a prayer. “Lord, help me face whatever is in front of me”. She didn’t stop to think if she believed that her prayer was heard or even if she felt prepared for what lay ahead. She was at peace knowing He was in control and would never leave her. In the back of her mind she could sense that a storm was coming but the horizon was clear. Maybe I just need a good sleep in order to gain perspective.

She got lost in her thoughts as she walked the thirty minutes home. Somehow she sensed that she should look up and that is when she saw it coming. A cloud was forming and was beginning to rotate. The funnel was developing right in front of her. It wasn’t very wide but it was about to hit her house where her daughters were. Although she was concerned, she had no reason to be worried because God always protected His chosen. She was chosen because she had spent some great times with Jesus through a few storms. She looked around but Jesus was no where to be seen so this was going to be no big deal. She knew He would change the course of the tornado just before it hit her family. He promised to protect her and  she would show Him what a good believer she was and laugh about this close call later.

But the tornado was still swirling in the direction of her house lifting debris off the ground. She started running towards, but she was still a fair distance from her house. She stood  gazing in unbelief as it touched down on her house and then lifted and sat just above the rooftop. She sat down on the side of the road. How had she watched the tornado destroy her house and yet had never felt the wind. She had no time for reflection. Her daughters were in the house and she needed to get to them. She forgot about how tired she was and rushed inside. Debris from the impact of the wind had fallen on her youngest daughter. She was covered in cuts and blood and was laying on the floor with a piece of glass protruding from her abdomen. The older sister came stumbling into the room as tears streamed down her cheeks. Both girls were in shock. She kicked into crisis mode and wrapped her bleeding daughter in a blanket. Then the three of them huddled in the corner.They could hear a sound like a freight train  outside as a second  tornado was touching down. She knew her house could not withstand another strike. She wondered why the house was still standing and then realized that they were in the eye of the tornado. She gathered her daughters close and whispered, “Everything is going to be okay.” Just as suddenly as the storm started it lifted and the sun came out.

First came the elation feeling after having survived a traumatic event, then as reality sunk in she became aware that her daughter needed medical attention. Finding a strength she never knew she had, she took her wounded daughter  to the hospital and sat beside her waiting for the doctor.

“It doesn’t look good. We will do what we can to help her.” Those were not the words she was hoping to hear. Where was the peace she experienced a few short days ago? Where was Jesus? She needed Him and He wasn’t coming to meet with her. Was it really true that He would never leave her? She needed a miracle and supernatural strength to make it through the night and Jesus was nowhere to be seen. Even though her older daughter wasn’t hurt physically, she needed care to help her deal with this crisis. She curled up in a ball and stared into space. This was way more than she could deal with. After a few hours, love for her daughters enabled her to get up and move forward. She didn’t know if she was numb or at peace.

Peace after the storm

She kept her eyes focused on Jesus and just as quickly as the storm had started, it passed. She sat shaking from the adrenaline rush and began to realize that she was soaked from the big waves that had ascended on the boat in the storm. The bright warm sun was now starting to disappear behind the horizon. A few stars began to make their presence known in the evening sky. She wrapped her arms around her shoulders and huddled on her seat trying to make herself small.

Jesus beckoned her to move closer to Him. She leaned forward as if to move and then pulled her shoulders back. She looked closely at Jesus and her head went down. She wanted to be close to Him but He was so confident and she was so inadequate. He whispered her name and she lifted her head slightly to look at His face. His eyes were filled with such love and acceptance.

He seemed to sense the struggle within her and patiently waited while she decided what she would do. He was dry and safe. She was wet, cold and vulnerable. She would be foolish not to move into the warmth He offered. With another quick glance into His eyes, she moved from her isolation into the warmth of His arms. They sat together enjoying each others presence as the sun set and the moon and stars decorated the sky above them. It didn’t matter that she felt small and inadequate, all she could think about is how safe and capable He was. She began to sing a song she had known since childhood. “Oh how I love Jesus. Oh how I love Jesus. Oh, how I love Jesus, Because He first loved me!”

Before she knew it, they were at the dock and she got out of the boat with a renewed energy and peace. She left the dock and headed towards her house. She found her daughters asleep in their beds and gave them a kiss on the forehead. She went to sleep knowing that Jesus was in control of the storm.

In the morning, after the usual rush of making lunches and getting breakfast on the table, she dropped her daughters off at High School and headed to her Elementary School. As the students arrived at school, she gave them a hug and checked in with a few of them. Asking how their evening was and exchanging stories about the family dogs. She went about her day resting in the knowledge that ordinary is made extraordinary when living with gratitude for everyday occurrences.

After experiencing the storm, day to day events seemed quiet and almost boring, but she knew that another storm would come and she would need to be prepared. She smiled in gratitude knowing that she was stronger, less afraid and safe.