Last summer, a storm blew through our area late in the evening, taking everyone by surprise. Within 10 minutes, trees were down across miles of landscape and power was knocked out for days. By the next morning, we all added a term to our weather dictionaries. Derecho: a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms. Nasty stuff, that derecho.
Almost a year later, another massive storm is predicted to smack us with derecho-like characteristics. Much like the preparation for a big snow-storm, people are stocking their shelves and driving like bats outta … well, you know. Everyone is tense, the anxiety is palpable, even the government offices are on “unscheduled leave.” We are prepared. And, thanks to the media reports, we are scared.
Days like today, dark and moody, make me want to hunker in my basement with my family, playing games and munching unhealthy snacks. I want to surround myself with everything dear to me, to feel life’s warm embrace as the storm presses in. Alas, I cannot. I have two active kids and a big dog who is terrified of raindrops, not to mention derechos! I also have obligations away from home. A medical appointment today will require the little one to go to a sitter and the older to navigate the storm with me. Everything in me is clinging to Home as tightly as my baby grasps her lovie at bath time. No, don’t take it away! Something is happening and I want my security!
Then I am reminded Where my security lies. Yes, this house, our home, is a gift, a place of refuge for our family. We rely on our car (okay, our stylin’ minivan) to whisk us away from danger and even provide air conditioning when electricity in the house fails. Our cell phones, near us at all times, offer peace of mind and connection to the world. Even my baby blanket, in my arms every night, calms me. But this is all fleeting. False security.
Hoping for the wisdom of innocence, I asked my six-year old what makes her feel safe. She picked up her flute, played a few notes, and shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. I guess I’m just brave.” This wasn’t enough for me, so I tossed out a couple of scary scenarios, like a big storm at night. “I just go to sleep.” Clearly I wasn’t going to crack that nut.
As I walked away, disappointed in the simplicity of her answer, it occured to me that simplicity is her very security. She doesn’t open herself to fear and worry. She just trusts the peace that pulses within, Christ within. We, her parents, have offered her all the physical security we can – a safe home, hands to hold in parking lots, 5-point harness seatbelts – but her real security rests in knowing she can be brave. She is safe.
As the storms of life press in, I am encouraged by scriptures and the very words of Christ. We are told to not be afraid, to rest and trust in God. In fact, fear is the very enemy, lying to us, convincing us we cannot trust. But again and again, God proves His protection over us, over our hearts. We can – and should – step into this world secure. And brave.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'” Psalm 91 (this is verse 1-2, but all of it is full of hope and security)
“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'” Psalm 46:10
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27