In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma last week, our small valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains saw an immense amount of rain and wind. We listened quietly as the transformers blew, taking with them our lights and everything else electricity so conveniently brings into our home.
My kids don't understand power. They just know they go in a room, flip a switch, and things work. Lights. Television. The refrigerator. After a day of no electricity and endless questions, we decided to visit a local restaurant that still had power. Over tortilla chips and tacos, my five-year-old asked a bold question: Why did God send the storm?
The million-dollar question in times of hardship. Why? We would be lying to ourselves if we say we never ask it. In the mind of my daughter, the storm took out her normalcy. In my mind, I saw the people with lost homes, lost family members, lost dreams. A day without power pales in comparison.
Under my breath I muttered, "Because we live in a fallen world full of sin and evil and we deserve so much more than a storm." (That’s me, always the optimist.) I decided that wasn't the best answer to give my daughter.
So, why does God "send the storms?" I think the better question is, "Why does God allow the storms?"
Here's what I've come to realize:
In the storms, I see God's power. Who holds creation in His hand? God. Who is awesome and mighty and powerful and strong? God. Who can speak the world into existence? God. Who can still the waves with His voice? God. Who keeps His children in the palm of His hand in every situation? God.
In the storms, I sense God's presence. The Bible tells us God will never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). The Bible tells us He is near to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18). When I can't make sense of the situation, I can trust God's promises. Tragedy has been a part of life since Adam and Eve. Tragedy will remain a reality until we find ourselves in eternity with Him. Yet, one thing never fails: God's faithfulness. When the world around us is ever changing, God is always constant.
In the storms, I surrender to God’s purposes. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. It may take years. But, I know God works all things together for His glory and our good. That might not be the word I need to hear in the midst of a trial, but I surrender all of my questions and hurt, disappointment and anger. I trust God’s purpose is bigger, even if I can’t see it.
I don't know what storm you are facing today. Cleanup from Hurricane Irma. Sickness. Death. Job loss. Divorce. A wayward child. Disappointment. Infertility. Hopelessness. Discontent. In the midst of your circumstances, remember God is in control. He holds the power. God has never left your side. He is present. God has a bigger purpose in the pain. His purposes will always be bigger and better than you can think or imagine.
In the midst of my storms, I'm clinging to this truth:
Even if I can’t understand the why, I can trust the Who.