Yesterday in North Carolina was humid. 93% humidity to be exact. It was almost unbearable, like being in a large, ridiculously hot oven. I thought maybe it was just my British sensitivities, but even the locals were complaining. I was so glad to be inside most of the day, where the air conditioning was running and keeping me sane! Not surprisingly, storms hit in the evening.
One thing I have learned since I came to live in the States is that even storms here are bigger. Last night, the flashes of lightning and cracks of thunder were so great they made me nearly jump out of my skin – I could feel the boom of thunder in my bones!
Just as with the weather, life can result in storms. Pressure builds, things get hot and close and overbearing, and the thunder begins to boom, the sky flashes, and we want nothing more than to run for cover.
No one is exempt from the storms of life. Even the greatest prayer warrior, the soul who works every day tirelessly in service of God – they all have storms come their way. Jesus himself warned us: ‘In this world you will have troubles’, he told us.
Throughout the Psalms, we see calls to praise God despite difficult circumstances. Hardships and struggles are not belittled, they are not painted as anything less than hard and heavy loads. But what we are encouraged to do is praise God through those storms. To turn to Him when thunder booms and lightning strikes. To shelter in His love and protection. Not to pretend the storm isn’t happening, but to cling on during it.
Storms have a purpose. Where yesterday humidity left the day feeling, as more than one friend called it, miserable, today the air is clearer and lighter. The storm did its work and we’re all feeling better for it. It was necessary.
The storms of our lives can sometimes leave us shaken. They can surprise us, shock us, scare us. We might need to run for cover. We might cry out to God, asking when it will pass. But it will pass. And we have a God who shelters us through it, who works for our good through it. We’ll still get wet, but if we trust in Him we can emerge clearer and fresher and lighter.