broken but not crushed

Helping each other live successfully and abundantly in the face of brokenness.

Location: Columbus, Central Ohio, United States

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Storm Update - part 2 in the series

When the TV stations all broke into normal broadcasting last night with the news of the tornados hitting south west Ohio my heart went out to those in the path of these storms. It is a terrifying experience to be in a twister. When our children were young and we lived in a mobile home we were faced with just such a disaster. While our tornado was quite small and only moved the house off it’s foundations and ripped trees from the ground in the neighborhood, it was terrifying none-the-less. I could only imagine what it must have felt like when the sirens went off and the news people said not one, or two, or even three, but up to six tornados on the ground at the same time. Utterly terrifying!

TV stations from Columbus sent crews to the area to survey the situation. Since the trip takes about an hour and a half, the reporters got to the area after sunset. One called in to say, “It is so dark we can’t really see anything. The power is out and the lightning has passed, so … I think we are going to have to wait until sunrise to see the extent of the damage.”

She was simply stating a fact of life. We can’t see in the dark no matter how hard we try. But what a profound truth for us to consider today.

Yesterday we talked about another fact of life – storms come. We can’t stop them, or move them, or make of them anything less than what they are. Many times the storms in our lives come in hard and fast and deadly. They show up without warning and without mercy. And they often leave a path of destruction behind them that takes a long time – sometimes a lifetime - to clean up or deal with.

Now, let’s just talk for a moment, OK? Like it or not, storms often leave us in the dark. Our human power is exhausted or maybe even knocked out by the intensity of the storm. We know there is damage but the darkness hides the full story from our minds, and we simply can’t see well enough, or think clearly enough, to make sense of the whole thing.

This is an incredibly difficult time. Unfamiliar pain or brokenness is suddenly, alarmingly, and profoundly a stark reality. We were caught off guard – blindsided, if you will – and the darkness feels like it’s sucking the air out of our chest. Your mind races and wants to fix what’s broken, but the path is unclear and the answers unspoken. It is a terrifying experience.

It’s time to wait. Oh, fellow traveler, I didn’t say waiting was easy. But we must wait anyhow. To plow ahead and make decisions or plan strategies would be foolish and reckless. Even though you feel like you are alone in a lifeboat and adrift in an endless ocean and you want to do something – anything! - we’ve simply got to wait. When it’s dark it is impossible to survey the extent of the damage – or the dangers still waiting. Darkness also hides possible solutions we might miss if we ignore the mandate to wait for the sunrise. What if in the darkness you rowed that lifeboat like your life depended on it, and in the process you rowed out to sea while shore was only 20 feet the other direction?

In the darkness following the storm it’s time to find a friend who will just hold you and wait with you till morning. Quite often the wait is a short one. Sometimes it takes much longer. But time has a way of healing wounds that can heal, and time also gives us the recharged stamina to deal with the ones that won’t.

So, when the power is out and the lightning has passed, wait until sunrise. The Bible does say “Joy comes in the morning.”

Hang in there, morning is coming.


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