Thursday, July 18, 2013

Praise You In The Storm

My boys and I were on a mission—spend the afternoon at the beach. My nineteen-year-old beach-loving son was home for a brief visit. I was determined to take him to our favorite local spot. My thirteen-year-old son was good-to-go. My sixteen-year-old daughter looked outside and decided to stay home. Did I mention it was raining?

The forecast for the entire week was rain.  In the midst of the dismal predictions, this particular afternoon forecast was better: a 30% chance of rain. That meant there was a 70% chance for sun! 

So off we went . . . in the pouring rain.

Cue the lightning. 

And the roaring thunder.

It seemed ridiculous to be driving to the oceanfront wearing our bathing suits and beach clothes--our car packed with towels, sunblock & a drink cooler--in the midst of a thunderstorm.

I decided it was a good time for a Bible lesson.  “Boys, this is what faith looks like.  You believe it’s going to be sunny.  But it’s raining.  The facts say 70% chance of sun, but you only see rain.  But, as Christians, we don’t go by what we see.* The Bible says we walk by faith and not by sight.  We’re going to believe that when we get to the beach, it’s going to stop raining.”  And I might have even quoted Heb. 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

The boys nodded in agreement and expressed no concerns.  (What? I thought to myself,  No eye-rolling? No grumbling? No teasing me for giving them a Bible lecture? What?!) Instead, they broke open the snacks and cranked up some beach tunes.  I silently pleaded with God,  “Ok, Lord. You have to stop this rain!  I just told my boys what faith is . . . you have to come through!  Help!”

As we neared the beach, it’s as if the storm cloud was following us.  I increased my windshield wipers to high speed. Looking at the ominous horizon, I felt like Richard Dreyfuss in What About Bob. (The scene where he looks out the window at the pouring rain . . . desperate for Bob Wiley to finally leave and walk home. LOVE that movie!)  But the rain continued despite my inward pleading with God.

By the time we entered the beach parking lot, there was only light drizzle.  But the attendant shook her head as we approached, “Everyone’s just been informed to leave the beach.  There’s lighting & thunder.”

I pulled in and parked anyway.  I announced with confidence, “Boys, we’re going to sit here and wait for the storm to pass.  It will.” To my delight and shock, the boys agreed. 

As we sat and watched the storm, my faith began to grow.  I was reminded of the words to the Casting Crown song, “Praise You in This Storm.”

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away**

So, as I listened to the thunder and watched the magnificent storm clouds roll by, I silently praised God—for his creative genius (let’s face it, storms can be beautiful, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring sights to behold!), for an afternoon off of work, for some quality times with my boys, for teenagers who chose not to complain, etc.

An hour later, we got out of the car and found a perfect spot on an empty beach.  The sky cleared and we enjoyed a wonderful time together.  Before we left, I took a walk along the waters edge, giving thanks to my faithful God who’d reminded me of a few things that day:

  •   The storms in our life are brief.  They will pass. 
  •  Praise God no matter what the situation looks like.
  •  Take a closer look.  There is beauty in storms.
  •  Faith pleases God.  Your faith makes God happy!

I’m pretty sure God was smiling & laughing at my forty minute drive in the pouring rain to visit one of His beaches.

*2 Cor. 5:7
**"Praise You In This Storm" was written by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms

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