Saturday, September 15, 2012

Gone With the Wind

     We went camping in Pennsylvania last month alongside beautiful Otter Lake.  Mist curls gracefully up from its surface each morning.  (You can read about Water Walking on Otter Lake here.)
      I enjoy camping, as long as I can bring the comforts of home with me.  We are the proud owners of a small travel trailer.  Our trailer has a kitchen, a table and couch, the tiniest bathroom known to man, and a bedroom for my husband and I.  Our three children, and my niece, sleep in tents.  
     Below is a picture of our campsite.  I took this photo standing by the lake looking up at the kids enjoying their breakfast.  Please note the canopy stretching out from the trailer to provide us with shade and a little shelter in the event of rain.
      On the second day of our trip, we enjoyed swimming, kayaking, riding bikes, and power lounging.  Around five o’clock in the evening, the sky darkened, the clouds began to roll in, and rain looked certain.  We tucked the camp chairs under the canopy, gathered the towels, and put the bikes under a tarp.  We quickly had dinner, then collapsed the tents to bring the kids inside to sleep for the night. It's one thing to sleep in a tent in a gentle rain shower, still another in a thunder storm.  Inside the trailer, the couch and table were opened up into two beds.  Although it was still early, everyone put on their jammies, snuggled in blankets, and settled in to watch a movie.  We should have watched The Wizard of Oz.
     Meanwhile, the wind picked up, thunder and lightening flashed, and rain pelted down.  The electricity began to flicker.  When the power went out for the third time we could no longer ignore what was clearly not a simple thunder storm.  The wind howled around our little trailer.  Branches and leaves flew past the windows.  The trees around us creaked and groaned.  Hail began pounding on the roof.
     I went to Pat and yelled as quietly as I could over the roaring of the wind, “Honey, I think that we would be safer in the truck."   I reasoned, trucks are designed for impact.  Trailers are not.
     Pat who had been nervously watching out the window shouted back, “ We can’t go outside now.  It’s too dangerous.  I think we are going to lose the canopy.”  He had scarcely finished speaking when  a huge metallic bang sounded on the roof.
     We sat together in the dark flinging up half thought out prayers to God for safety and trying to look unconcerned for the sake of the kids, all of whom were too smart to buy it.  Ten minutes later, the wind and rain lessened.  Soon the sun came out.  The storm was over.
      The canopy support post next to the door had been ripped completely away, the metal bent beyond repair.  The canvas was torn.
      Fellow campers began to tumble out of their trailers.  Fortunately, no one had been injured.  Four other trailers along the lake had also lost their canopies.  A fifth canopy had been saved because its owner had stood outside in the storm desperately hanging onto it.
      This shot is looking up the road from our site.  Leaves and branches littered the ground.  The green popup that you can glimpse was totally bent but still standing.  It had been tied to nearby trees.    Just out of sight, a tree had been ripped out by its roots and lay on the ground.  We later found out that a tornado had touched down less then a mile away.
      Rain can come as gentle showers or thunderous storms.  But make no mistake, we all at times experience storms.  Howling winds of heartbreak, the pounding hail of illness, and the brokenness of loss.  Rain pouring down from the heavens.
      But God uses the rain in our life to bring us beauty, healing, comfort, and hope.  Look at the beauty of the world He has given to us.   Every singing bird,  every fish that swims, in fact, every living thing, is dependent on the rain that waters the earth.  Every flower and every tree was born through the rain.
Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who makes the storm clouds. He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone.  ~Zechariah 10:1
      Our God is the Redeemer in the rain.   He is the One who calms the storms.
     Have you ever been caught in a storm?
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