“Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!” ~ 2 Thessalonians 16:33 NASB.
Two am. The dark silence of sleeping night explodes with a piercing siren from my phone.
Tornado warning. Take cover immediately.
I stumble out of bed, reach for my robe, and peer through a shutter. In the highlight of garage spotlights, driving rain pelts sideways through the shadows. Trees bend sideways, their new leaves shaking violently as they cling madly to their branches. A city siren screams warnings over the howling wind to take cover. I fumble down the stairs in the dark, aiming for the safety of the tornado closet, praying that God spares our home and our lives from destruction.
The next morning, the sun shines golden bright. The sky is clear blue, washed so clean that it sparkles. Trees lift their leaves upward, as though casually sunbathing at the beach. All is calm, all recent violence forgotten. Trails of downed leaves and debris lay scattered on the roads—the only sign left of those early whirlwinds.
Driving through it jogs my memory of a dream about a tornado I had a few years ago. Like an etched vision, it doesn’t fade with the passage of time, probably because it represents a paradox.
Here’s the dream:
I was standing in a house, looking through a huge picture window on the second floor. Flatland circled the property, and I could see only ground and sky in the far distance. Then the wind kicked up, and storm clouds colored the horizon. A purple funnel appeared, barreling toward the house. I yelled to my family to head down to the basement to take cover, but I was glued at the window, watching the violent twister approach.
Just yards away from striking the house, the funnel cloud suddenly changed into a giant man. He looked directly at me through the window as he walked toward me, holding out his hands as if to help. What struck me most was the deep compassion on his face. He appeared extremely concerned for my safety and well-being, and I sensed that he was my protection from the storm.
But at the same time, he was the storm.
That’s the paradox.
My interpretation is that God abides camouflaged within our storms of life. What brings destruction also results in cleansing and newness. Although we fear the roaring whirlwinds around us, Jesus is in control and will protect us, His children, from harm.
Where does Scripture reflect this principle? One example is the story of Jesus and His disciples sailing across the Sea of Galilee.
“And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”” ~ Matthew 8:24-27 NASB.
I’m left with a picture of the awe-struck disciples on their knees, worshiping Jesus who stands before them. I envision the same outstretched hands and compassionate eyes like the man in my dream, whom I believe to be the Lord.
Are you caught up in a tornado, a storm of life?
Jesus is at the center of your storm.
He is your peace.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” ~ John 16:33 NASB.