Published 9:22 pm Friday, April 24, 2020

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Walking around our yard after last Sunday night’s tornado and/or straight line winds, I saw two tall pine trees snapped in half, a small tree leaning on our barn, and a small limbs scattered everywhere.

Thankfully, I happened to park my SUV in the backyard, otherwise it would’ve been buried under a huge pile of limbs in our driveway.  This scene reminded me of what I’ve learned from previous storms in my life.

Hurricane Opal taught me a lesson in October 1995.  The gale force winds seemed to howl most of the night as our family huddled together in the hallway of our home.  Trees were snapped or uprooted in our yard, but thankfully did not fall on our house.

Hurricane Ivan packed a punch in September 2004.  I went to the Red Cross shelter during the storm.  Though most of us had never met, the people gathered in the shelter felt like one big family.  I will always remember going through the crisis with them.  Several of us volunteered to help however we were needed – serving meals, cleaning tables, or just saying a kind word to calm an anxious person.

Then the infamous Hurricane Katrina in August 2006 caused hundreds of evacuees to flee to Alabama.   A Red Cross shelter was opened on Sunday night before the storm made landfall and our population grew by 146 in just a few hours.  I will never forget the faces and stories of the evacuees.

It’s amazing how satellites and reconnaissance aircraft high above the earth can tell us when and where hurricanes are going to make landfall.  In our daily lives, each of us encounters storms that do not show up on Doppler radar.  There’s no way to know what’s about to happen.

Maybe it’s an unexpected diagnosis of cancer or the sudden death of a family member.  It could be the loss of a job or the loss of a relationship.  A minister I know once said his favorite scripture was “It came to pass.”  “Thank God, our problems come to pass, they do not come to stay,” he added.

Our faith gets battered during the storms of life.  Like the trees bent down by the strong winds, we can feel as though the storm will uproot our faith.  One songwriter has said, “Sometimes He calms the storm and other times He calms His child” in the storm.

The Apostle Paul, who survived a stormy shipwreck, wrote, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8).

I’ve heard it said that most people are either going into a storm, are in the middle of a storm or coming out of a storm.  So when the storms come, remember the words of Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

A chorus our church often sings encourages my faith, “No matter the storms that come my way, no matter the trials I may face, You’ve promised that You would see me through, so I will trust in You.”  Take heart.  God has promised the sun will shine again.