Growing up, I hated thunderstorms. For several years, I spent my summer mornings checking the Weather Channel, anticipating what might roll through the Midwest later that day. I’d get a sinking feeling in my gut that deepened as the radar spun. Eventually, a severe weather alert would blare across the television, and one of my parents would say, “Shut up the barn and put the chickens up.”
Shutting the barn was easy. Getting the chickens back in their coop? Not so much. You see, even after every other animal has sensed a coming storm and taken some form of shelter, you can bet there will still be a handful of chickens wandering around in harm’s way.
So, heart pounding, I’d run through the backyard as thunderheads stacked higher on the horizon and the ground rumbled under my feet—wind flattening the grass, temperature dropping fast, birds twisting in loose formation overhead, forced along by the storm.
Remembering moments like that still gives me goosebumps.
“I’d get a sinking feeling in my gut that deepened as the radar spun.”
Thankfully, my fear of severe weather lost its grip along the way, but when it comes to storms of faith, I’ve often vacillated between those same two responses. I’ll fixate on the horizon and prepare. I’ll ruminate on the possibilities and try to control the situation the best I can. I’ll let the fear of what may be rob me of joy in the little things.
Or I’ll find myself walking through life like one of those chickens. I’ll be caught by surprise the moment the storm hits. And I’ll be at a loss for what to do. Of course, you can’t prepare for every storm. No one anticipates a devastating illness or the sudden passing of a loved one. We live in a sin-soaked, stained, and broken world, and it’s anything but predictable.
But, by God’s grace, I think there’s another way.
Most days, I don’t check the weather. With a dog like mine, I don’t have to. The second she hears a distant thunderclap, she’s glued to my side. When the wind picks up and rain pelts the windows, she runs to the basement door. (My parents say it’s payback for all the times I stood by their bed in the middle of the night.)
“The second she hears a distant thunderclap, my dog is glued to my side.”
When we take shelter, my dog’s not satisfied to just sit in the basement. She does feel safer there, but it’s not enough. Her bed is a few feet away, but she insists on sitting next to me on the concrete, shoulder pressed against my knee. Otherwise, she’d be shaking under a table.
My dog doesn’t spend her days checking the barometer or flipping back to the Weather Channel. She keeps an ear open for thunder, but she doesn’t live in constant fear of its return. When it’s clear a storm is fast-approaching, she responds instinctually and runs to where she feels safe.
Friends, I want to be prepared for storms as much as I’m able, but not at the cost of an intimate relationship with a Heavenly Father who’s ready to sit with me and be my peace, come what may. Wind, rain, addiction, sin struggles, broken relationships, sickness—where else can we find lasting refuge and rescue besides the shadow of His wings?
“Where else can we find lasting refuge and rescue besides the shadow of His wings?”
Realistically, I can only do so much to keep my dog safe, but that’s not how she looks at things. That kind of radical, wholehearted dependence seems silly and misguided when we’re talking about pets, but it’s an accurate depiction of just how much we need God—storms or no. I begrudgingly ran out to the chicken coop those summer afternoons, but praise God, He doesn’t tire of being the Good Shepherd.
Do you run to Him when storms hit?