“It was a dark and stormy night.” So began page 76 of this 2016 edition of my life. Thunderstorms rolled through the area very early in the morning, causing an interruption of desired rest. Interrupted sleep or not, the alarm still went off early and the cleaning at work wasn’t going to get done itself. I finished the cleaning and daily prep work and as I sat down at my computer to check email and messages, I was able to catch a glimpse of the sun fighting its way over the horizon. In a very short time, the clouds had been blown away and an incredible sunrise was appearing as I looked out my office window. After going out to take some pictures, I returned to my email and messages. When I next looked up, the sun had disappeared under a thick blanket of clouds while the wind whipped the treetops back and forth with great fury. By late morning as I finished up some projects, I noticed there were holes appearing in that thick blanket of clouds and a few tiny patches of blue sky peering out onto the earth below.
By the time I finished up that work day at 3, the blue sky dotted with an occasional puffy white cloud seemed to be asking to be photographed. At least from inside, it was a perfect day to head out and take some photos. With the wind gusting up to 50 mph, we decided to head up to Lake Michigan to capture some lighthouse photos with some good wave action. As we were about to leave the South Haven lighthouse, the lady in the car next to where I parked looked so familiar that I found myself trying to see who she was with without looking like a creeper or stalker. I finally got a good look at the driver and it was a good friend from my years working at the camp. They had come over from the Kalamazoo area to watch the waves and sunset and “just happened” to park next to us.
After coming home and reflecting on the day, I thought about how quickly things can change. We often joke about the weather in the Michiana area, that if you don’t like it then just wait 5 minutes, it will change. That really seemed to be the case several times today. I also thought about life and how sometimes it can feel as if nothing will ever change and we are “stuck” wherever we happen to be. When I am in a cloudy and stormy season of life, it can start to feel like the sun will never return. Fortunately, I’ve lived through enough to know that the light of Jesus can being hope to my darkest hours. Paul writes of his “light and momentary afflictions”, and when I study his life I realize that things do change very quickly when viewed from an eternal perspective. The struggles that I face that last days, weeks, months, or even years, really are momentary when compared to the eternal glory waiting for me when I meet Jesus face to face.
As I watched and photographed the waves, I thought about the power of Jesus who could calm the wind and the waves with just a simple command, “Be still!” As I thought about that, it dawned on me that Jesus had the power to keep the storm from ever happening in the first place. Yet the storm was necessary for the disciples, and for me. It is in the storm that God can clearly reveal both His power and His love for me as His Word brings calm to the storms of my life. The storms not only help me to realize how weak I am on my own, they also help me to see just how strong I can be in Christ.
I pray that you and I are filled with hope as we realize the ever-changing nature of life on this earth. I pray that we would not despair when things look bleak, but that we would look to God for strength and comfort. I pray that we would grow in our understanding of how God uses the storms of life to teach, equip, and refine us into a greater representation of His Son, Jesus.