Friday, October 22, 2010

Riding the Storm

My fondest childhood memories happened while we were in the car. We drove on family vacations…miles and miles of varying road driven to our favorite music…the cups of juice and Surprise Bags that Mama packed with projects for us…the conversations that grew out of the scenery; everything from clothes hanging on a wash-line in Tennessee and why stop-signs are French in Canada, to what that loud noise is the trucks in Chicago make (Jake-braking) and why the dirt is red in Oklahoma.
Other vivid child-hood memories are of storms. The first tornado warning experience I remember stands out clearly in my mind…the sky an uncanny color, and Daddy standing on the small hill next to our house watching the menacing cloud-front roll in while we watched him with very little trepidation from our dining room window. I don’t recall being frightened or even concerned. Daddy was checking the sky and of course that was perfectly alright. I suppose it is those things we do which seem ordinary that make the deepest impressions, so as to become ordinary to the child, and thus shape his life.
Daddy often took us out in the car during thunderstorms. To this day, driving through an electric storm in the car with the family still rivals the pleasure I find in a good book in front of the fire. I believe it is the contrast of the turmoil and danger outside with the perfect peace and confidence inside the car that still draws me. I knew as a little girl that no matter how angry the flashes of lightning looked and how loud the crash of thunder was, Daddy would keep us safe and take us where it was best to be. Because of that, I relished watching the storm. I remember that now, and wonder at how shallow my faith in our heavenly Father often grows. What is it about the storm that fixates us so we can no longer remember our Father driving the van?
Trials are humbling; they force you onto a lonely stage out of a familiar living room. Like a child who keeps foolishly looking back at the piece of candy he dropped in the road while his father gently leads him towards the candy shop he cannot see; we tug blindly and with real anguish on the hand that pulls us upward. When we are in the midst of trouble, we realize it is neither what we dread, nor what we could wish and time feels as though it is dragging until you look back and the place you left seems an eternity past. The reason for our suffering is never what we expect, and yet it comes exactly when we are ready for it…not because we can take it on, but because we must.

When God burns every bridge but the one which we stand on the brink of, how certain we should be that He has us in the center of His will and is taking us where we need to go. How can we then refuse to leave behind what we thought was right? How can one in such a position ask for direction of the Father without tacitly refusing to step on the path he is given? The future, however seemingly uncertain or dark, is then revealed to be just where it always was – in His keeping. What better road is there to walk, however steep this may prove to be, when we know the toiling course runs straight Home?

No comments: