Did you hear about Hurricane Arthur? If you live in the United States, chances are that you did. He swept up from the south last week, and wreaked havoc on Independence Day celebrations all up the east coast. Well, I experienced Arthur first-hand. Billy, Jaxon and I were on vacation in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina when Arthur came through. The storm started in our area a little after midnight. We could hear the rain and gusts of wind through the night, but we fell into a fitful sleep. Around 5:00 am we really woke up and a quick look at the radar on Billy's phone showed that we were very close to the eye of the storm. Our house shook and the rain beat against the outside. So, what did we do? We laid back down and went to sleep. At that point there was really nothing else we could do. The storm raged until after 8:00 am, and, even though we slept through most of it, we were awakened several times by the shaking of the house.
On our trip home we talked about the Sunday School lesson that Billy was planning to teach on Sunday. He decided to talk about storms in our lives and how God uses them to lead us. One of the things we discussed was the waves on the beach. Now, you should know that when it comes to the ocean, I'm like a big kid. I love to get out and play in the waves. But I noticed while swimming early in the week that if I wasn't paying attention to what was going on, the waves would carry me further and further up the beach. On Friday, after the storm, I noticed that the surfers were walking up the beach to catch the waves, which then carried them down the beach in the opposite direction from the days before. Billy pointed out to me that as the storm was moving in it pushed the waves in front of it, but after it passed, it pushed the waves back behind it. It essentially changed the direction of the water.
In his lesson on Sunday morning Billy illustrated how Jesus has the ability to calm every storm in our lives, but sometimes He chooses not to. Why? One of the reasons may be that He is using the storm in our life to change our direction. We may be riding high across the tide, and thinking everything is going great, but He has a bigger and better plan. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9) When times get hard we have to trust that this is true. When life is at it's darkest, and times are almost harder than we can bear, we have to trust that His plan is better than our plan.
I can honestly say that Billy and I are in the middle of a storm. So many things seem to be falling apart at one time. It feels like our own personal hurricane. We would love to be able to wake Jesus up in the back of the boat and have Him say, "Peace, be still," but that may not be His plan. A storm like this happened to us once when we'd only been married a few weeks. The first months of our marriage were very hard as we struggled to make ends meet. Ultimately, God was leading us to move back to my hometown where Billy was able to get a better job. We bought our dream house here, and started our family. Looking back now, we can see how that storm changed our direction in life, and brought us much better things than we dreamed. So now, we can only ask, "Lord, are you changing our direction again? Is there a different plan that you have for us?" We aren't sleeping through this hurricane. The wind is blowing, the rain is beating and our house is shaking. And we are awake. We are watching. We are praying.