Sunday, September 16, 2012
The Approaching Storm
As I watched the wind lightly tossing about the tree tops, I had an odd sense: it was as if the wind was warning me of something more than rain and thunderstorms. I sensed a deeper omen. "There is a storm coming. Prepare."
The thought drew me back to a few years ago when a devastating tornado hit my area. That day, too, I had an "impression" -- it was impressed upon me the thought of "A storm is coming. Get your shoes on." I am one of those people who instantly kicks off the old shoes when I come home from work, allowing my toes to wiggle free of their stuffy shoes and grip the cool, slick wood flooring or fluffy carpeting beneath them. But the afternoon of the tornado, it was "impressed" upon me that getting my shoes on was of utmost importance. I was fortunate in that my home was not affected by the tornado, but I was called out by the Red Cross to help with damage assessment of a community nearby.
But, today, the "impression" I was receiving was not like the day of the tornado. This approaching storm was one stretched farther out into time: more widespread, long range, more devastating.
I pressed the thoughts down, recognizing that perhaps my disaster preparations I had recently started were getting the best of me. "You've been stockpiling supplies too much lately. You need to quit reading, surfing, ordering. Put your faith in God instead -- that all will be all right." But, I couldn't shake the feeling that this "impression" -- this idea being pressed upon me -- was from God. I recalled "be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."
I prepare not in fear of "end times" as some do. I prepare more for a situation of large-scale natural disaster or terrorists disrupting food supplies and distribution systems. Now, with the chaos in the Middle East, I worry even more about terrorists disrupting the world in general -- oil, food supplies, war, terrorist attacks, economic hardship.
In church this morning I sat next to a young family who lovingly doted on their newborn baby. She couldn't have been more than two weeks old. The father held her with gentleness and love, gently pushing her bangs aside as she slept, kissing her softly on her forehead. I felt a small stab of pain as I wondered if her parents worried about her future. And yet I know every generation on this earth has worried about the future of generations to come. My grandparents faced World War II. My parents faced the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Our generation would be no different.
I turned to the parents and said "Congratulations!", this phrase meaning "I wish you joy!" Indeed, I do wish them and the child joy -- that precious gift God gives no matter the situation or predicament.
Normally, I am a joy-filled person. But, it seems lately I've been worrying more than usual. May God restore my joy. May God restore OUR joy.
Meanwhile, I keep thinking of that old song: "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition", written as a response to Pearl Harbor. But, I will pray ... a lot.
"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)