I remember being a little girl growing up in Florida, having hurricane parties where you gathered with all your family, opened your doors and watched as the rain poured down without end and the trees swayed back and forth like the most limber of gymnasts. Given the recent hurricane activity, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the phenomenon of the eye of a storm. Every time I see a picture on the news, my natural eye is drawn straight to the swirling center. The eye of a storm is approximately 20-40 miles in diameter and it’s a region of mostly calm weather. If you stood in the middle, the weather would appear like that of a sunny, calm summer day. Yet it’s surrounded by the eye wall which contains the storms most severe and dangerous weather. Depending on the category of the storm, the eye wall can host severe and destructive winds of over 155 miles per hour. It’s astounding to me how there can be peace and chaos in such close proximity, with such a stark contrast in environments.
When I took this photo featured on this blog, I was traveling from Florida to Chicago from a trip to visit my family and I had no idea why it was so symbolic to me in the moment, but I snapped the photo and forgot about it, until recently. The plane went from being in perfect, sunny weather to suddenly flying into a dark storm hovering over the city. Little did I know how this picture would describe our lives in the season we’re currently in. We went from a very calm, stable, peaceful season to one where there’s so much going on around us, I can hardly keep my days straight anymore – if you need proof, just ask my co-workers. Poor things ask me what I did the night before and you would think they asked me to recite all 66 books of the Bible or something. My head is spinning with so many thoughts, plans, and details. There are so many changes in our immediate surroundings: we are in the midst of an adoption where our family life will forever be changed, we are moving our business location from a 3rd floor suite to a store front, we have had some employee changes recently, there are shifts going on in our ministries – people are moving and transitioning, there is so much going on in our personal eye wall. As the storm eye wall consistently tempts to disturb the peace of the storm’s eye, the whirlwind surrounding us in our personal lives begs us to lose our calm through weapons such as: feelings of fear, anxiety, doubt, thoughts of failure or instability, and the list goes on and on.
I read this about storms and it struck a deep revelation within me: “A common mistake, especially in areas where hurricanes are uncommon, is for residents to exit their homes to inspect the damage while the calm eye passes over, only to be caught off guard by the violent winds in the opposite eye wall.” Have you ever been in a season in your life where it’s one thing after another, like a boxing match – the battle gets intense, you get a 2-3 minute breather, but then comes another battle? The news that you’ve dreaded so long from the doctors is followed by the loss of a job or your finances take a hit, your spouse and your marriage is facing an unexpected hard season and then your children start acting out and you never saw it coming. Life is a series of battles, the Lord allows our trials to refine and process us. He doesn’t want us to be caught off guard. So often we place our false sense of peace on our ever changing circumstances – doesn’t that sound like an oxymoron? When our peace is found in a never-changing God, when our hope is anchored in the stableness of our God, no matter the chaos going on in our personal eye wall, we remain in the stillness and tranquility of the eye. His eye.
In Amos 9:13-15 it says “Yes indeed, it won’t be long now.” God’s decree. “Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will happen at once – and everywhere you look, blessings!” I love how that verse ends with the word blessings. Do you consider your battles as blessings in disguise? It reminds me of the song “Blessings” by Laura Story:
“’Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the achings of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise”
Are you ready for all that God has coming your way – the good and the bad? Like Job declared “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” I want God to find me stable in Him, knowing that whatever He throws my way, it will neither sway me to the left nor to the right because I know He controls every detail of my life. I have a plaque in our baby nursery that reads “Let Jesus Calm Your Storm”. It is a daily reminder that He is my security and with Him I am guaranteed that ALL things will work together for my good and His glory, even the storms. True, everlasting joy can be found in the midst of trials. Will you join me in the eye? It’s the best place where we can be found during life’s storms and we can have a party while we’re at it!