There are two types of people in this world: those who enjoy thunderstorms and those who do not.
I am the latter; I am not particularly fond of thunderstorms. I’m not scared of them, but I don’t like driving during a storm, nor do I like getting caught in the rain. I’m like a cat – I don’t like getting wet!
However, I’ve come across people who find thunderstorms refreshing — even calming. I too love the smell after the rain (note after) but I don’t see too many people lingering outdoors in the middle of a downpour. In fact, most people start to scatter and seek shelter when the rain and wind collide.
Shelter is what makes all the difference. Once under the protection of shelter, we can appreciate the beauty in the storm from afar. The strength in the wind, the mixture of colors splattered across the sky, the quick dance of lighting and the power within a single thunderous roar – even someone who doesn’t like storms can’t help but be mesmerized by it all.
Take shelter out of the equation, and only chaos remains. Whatever beauty that is found in the storm is lost as we feel the not-so-gentle shove of the wind, the cold rain splashing down on us from all sides, and the heavy mud in our shoes. I think storm enthusiasts can agree: getting caught in the storm is not nearly as pleasant as merely watching it.
A spiritual storm is quite the same.
When we hear and see the testimony of a life that has been through a vast spiritual storm, we focus on the beauty that results, the “smell after the rain.” We understand that pain and fear must have taken place; however, we can’t fully comprehend it. We merely watched the storm from our own stable life, our own shelter. We didn’t feel the pressure of the wind, the vibration of the thunder; we didn’t experience the urgency to find shelter. We didn’t feel a single raindrop.
God allows the storm, and He provides the shelter. However, in the middle of a life-shaking spiritual storm, it can be difficult to hear His voice guiding us to shelter. In the chaos of the wind and rain, we can only focus on finding shelter — on getting to a safe place as soon as possible. We don’t always take the time to endure the rain and let the thunder pass in order to hear His voice telling us where to go and what to do.
While we may find a sense of shelter on our own, only He can stop the rain. When we are still and listen or call upon His name, He will clear the clouds, give light, and show us the way.
Matthew 24:30-31 reminds us that Jesus did just that for His disciples:
“But when [Peter] saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, ‘O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?’ “
If you are in the middle of a spiritual storm, be encouraged that He can and will bring you through it. If someone close to you is experiencing a storm of their own, remind them of Who can provide peace, and be willing to share your umbrella until the storm passes.