I once slept through a Category 5 hurricane.
It was Hurricane Andrew. I was six and living in Miami. My mom had just remarried, and we’d just left Connecticut. The home I’d known was gone. The school I’d known was gone. And life felt unpredictable and stormy in every way.
I was too young to understand that a direct hit from a Category 5 hurricane was a big deal. So, I slept through it. We put our hurricane shutters on and I went to sleep for the night. When I woke up and went outside, I couldn’t see the road we lived on because it was covered in pieces of our neighborhood.
I don’t even remember having any reaction to it. I saw the devastation, but I felt numb. My internal storm was scarier to me than the one that ripped through my hometown.
There are always storms.
Today, I’m praying for my friends and family in Miami who are boarding up, stocking up, packing up, or hunkering down for Irma. I’m excited to see my old friend, Danny, and his family, who are coming to town to escape, and I’m sad with my Nicole, as she sits in her hotel room far away with her kids, wondering if she’ll have a home to go back to.
And I’m looking at this big, ominous image that’s all over every screen, and thinking, how can we find peace here? There are storms within and storms without. How can any of us feel safe?
We can’t, on our own. No chance. We are kids with crumbling dreams. We are palm trees in violent winds. We are weaker than the waters that rise in our lives. We sense we are and we know we are and our fears can feel like a hurricane.
But we are not alone.
“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” – Psalm 3:3
We are not alone. We have a shield, a glory, and a lifter who loves.
Our Shield overcame death. He can overcome pain. He can handle our fears. Our glory is beyond us. It is not the life we’ve built that can be crushed or washed away. We have a greater glory, sealed forever.
And the Lifter of Our Heads…
When we are afraid, when we are weak, and when we worry about what is to come, we have Someone who gives us His strength. We have Someone who pulls us up and meets our gaze.
I can look up and see Jesus.
My Jesus who speaks and makes storms disappear. My Jesus who has already defeated sin and death and everything ominous and scary. My Jesus who loves the people in Miami that I love even more than I love them because they are His.
“And the things of this world grow strangely dim…”
Hurricanes and broken hearts and hard days.They all get fuzzy in light of the cross. It’s hard to be afraid when you’re looking past the forecast. It’s hard to be focused on what’s temporary when Jesus lifts your head.
This weekend is sobering, but I feel joy and peace in my soul, not just because I’m not in the cone of hurricane danger, but because I know the One who is in control of the weather and the world. And I know He loves my Nicole and Grandma Mattie and Little Christy.
He wins. He is the author of everything good. He makes things new. And my hope is in Him.
If you’re bracing for a storm this weekend, or if you’re celebrating something exciting or reeling from devastating news, look up. Jesus is the lifter your head. And the lover of your heart. And the shield of your soul.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3