When the siren went off, we headed for the basement. Soon, the house grew dark. The windows shuddered, and I began to pray for safety. It’s a frightening thing to be surrounded by forces able to tear us apart.
Sure, we’ve learned to avoid standing in the middle of the yard when tree limbs are flying by. But there is more at stake than physical safety during a storm. I’ve suffered through many in my life, and have discovered that, in the midst of the turmoil, my heart needs as much protection as my body.
It’s in times like these that the cracks in my spiritual maturity begin to show. It makes me wonder, how much do I really trust God? What will I do if God allows the wind to destroy my home? How will I respond if I or my loved ones suffer injury? Can I depend on God to provide for my needs? Will I turn toward God for help — or away from God in anger? Will God bring comfort to my wounded heart?
After this storm, we emerged from the basement unharmed, and I immediately began thanking the Lord. I’m always grateful for happy endings because of the times when things haven’t ended so well. Like the time God allowed another driver to crash into my car — totaling it and breaking my ribs in the process. Or when economic forces caused me to spend a long period in the wilderness of unemployment. I’ve lost loved ones to cancer and still wrestle with a persistent medical condition in my own life. As I consider the physical and spiritual ramifications of these life circumstances, it occurs to me that I grow more when things don’t turn out well. It seems hardship causes the roots of my soul to grow deeper into the heart of God.
Whether the trouble is natural or man-made, I’ve discovered that God doesn’t leave me defenseless in the grip of the disaster. God invites me to trust (Prov. 3:5-6). God promises to be my heart’s refuge and source of strength (Ps. 46:1). God is the proper object of my hope (Lam. 3:21-24). God is the source of peace (Isa. 9:6; John 14:27). God is able to calm the wind and the waves (Ps. 107:29; Mark 4:39). But even if God doesn’t, he is still with me (Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5). And God is able to use the storms (which are not good) for some good that I may not be able to see at the time (Rom. 8:28; James
1:2-4). God is the safe refuge for my heart in the midst of the flying debris of life.
All of this encourages me to cling to God and, as I do, I grow closer to God. Each new trial builds on the spiritual foundation laid by the previous one. As I grow in spiritual maturity — as the roots of my soul find refuge in the heart of God — I find I am more quickly able to tap into God’s strength to withstand the troubles of life. So, while I’m thankful for underground shelter when the wind blows, I’m even more grateful for the help God provides for my heart in times of trouble. For if the worst happens and my home, possessions, or loved ones are harmed, God’s word promises that God will be there to help.