I’ve been watching weather updates this week about Florence, the hurricane that’s hurtling toward the east coast, threatening “a massive assault on the Carolinas,” according to the latest report.
As I’ve watched the hurricane take shape, I’ve considered the chaos and fear and potential destruction hurricanes create. And I’ve thought a lot about storms.
How can we feel safe when everything we care about is at risk? How can we feel secure when all we know and love is vulnerable to destruction? How can we feel hopeful when we know that no matter how hard we try to hold on, everything can be taken from our grasp by forces beyond our control?
This week, the storm that’s threatening the lives and possessions and well-being of my brothers and sisters is called Florence. At other times, the storms are called Divorce. Or Doubt. Or Bankruptcy. Or Betrayal. The diagnosis we never wanted to get. The friendship we thought we’d never lose. The prodigal child who’s wandered so far, our faint hearts can’t hope any more.
And the question we always ask is, “Where is God in the midst of the storm?”
Where is God when the winds and waves are raging? Where is God when the lives we’ve painstakingly built are being irreparably destroyed? Where is God when we’re begging for rescue?
Where is God in the storms of life, when we need God more than ever and yet God often seems the farthest away?
The famous preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote a commentary on Psalm 46, which begins,
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
So often when life hits us hard, when we’re in the midst of “a massive assault,” we’re like a sailor who’s been thrown overboard who’s scanning the shore his rescue. But what the psalmist says is that God is our Rock. In the midst of the storm, God’s not the lifeguard standing on the shore at a safe distance from danger; God is the rock that’s anchored securely in the midst of the raging sea.
When we’re struggling the most, when we’re asking, “Where is God?” the answer is that God is right there in the storm with us. God is the rock we can cling to, the rock that is stronger than the raging winds and roaring waves. The rock that outlasts even the most horrific hurricanes. And that’s why we can say with Spurgeon that we trust in a good and loving God in the midst of storms because God keeps his promise to come closer to us than the storm could ever be.
If you’re in the midst of a storm this week — physical, emotional, spiritual or otherwise — take heart, dear one.
You are held by the Rock who never leaves, never changes … and will never let you go.