Monday, July 13, 2015

The storm that came out of nowhere

There is a stretch of interstate highway in central Indiana that appears mundane, flanked by long flat fields with unrecognizable crops. For about twenty miles in those nondescript fields, enormous wind mills dot the landscape as far as you can see, looking like joyous little girls cartwheeling across the horizon.

I always hold my breath as I pass through the area, because this rather boring stretch has produced some horrific weather.  If I encounter any kind of storm on Interstate 65, it will be just north of Lafayette.  During the day, you can usually see it coming, thick black clouds rolling across that flat land like a train out of control.

But at night, the storms attack without warning, rising up out of nowhere.

My husband and I drove right into one of those storms, more than a year ago, a fierce and sudden blizzard, the snow moving horizontally so fast across the windshield that we could not tell if our car was moving or standing still.  It was not just that we could not see the car ahead of us, we could not even see past our own windshield.  We drove in the right lane with the passenger-side wheels on the rumble strip so that we knew we were still on the road.  We could not pull over and stop, because of other vehicles and enormous semi trucks still moving behind us and as blinded as we were.

Occasionally we would actually see another vehicle, moving in and out of our vision like a dream, and sometimes disappearing without a trace. 

Bill gripped the steering wheel.  I tried to keep breathing.

Even exit ramps were clogged and impassable with huge vehicles unable to struggle up the incline.

And so, we continued on, praying for God's shield around us on all sides.  "O LORD! Show us how to navigate this."  And as the storm intensified and that thick white wool blanket of snow smothered us, the silence of the car was interrupted by just an occasional "O LORD!"   Sometimes all you can do is pray and trust God through the storm, whatever fearful tempest might be in your life.  God will not just get you through. He will guide you through.

At one point under an overpass, a stopped semi began to back up, crushing the front of the large SUV in front of us.  And even then, our fear was not based on what we could see playing out before us, but the unknown dangers coming up behind us.

Suddenly, a rest area appeared without warning.  We pulled off the highway, the ramp marked by huge ruts in the deep snow from those who pushed through ahead of us.  And there, in the heated concrete block building that housed the rest rooms, we waited out the fury of the storm, a rag tag group of weary travelers all headed in different directions, witnessing first-hand the kind of spontaneous fellowship that always seems to emerge in times of hardship.

Coasting along it with difficulty,
we came to a place
        called Fair Havens...

                           Acts 27. 8

There will be storms.
There will be impossible situations
      hard to believe
                  and even in the midst,
                           hard to breathe.
But there will be rest areas,
           and God will put them on your path.
The way may be long and difficult,
    but He will provide havens
                             in essential places,
sometimes in surprising packages,
       an impossible sense of peace,
an encouraging word,
      a sudden awareness of His Presence,
...and the reality that I am not in control,
                   but He is.

God provides His incredible peace
                     in the middle of my day,
                     in the eye of the storm,
                     in the center of His will.

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