The wind blew so hard she thought that the window beside the bed was about to break. Lightning flashes came so rapidly the sky was light as day for long periods of time. The rumble of thunder shook the house as it filled the air with constant movement and sound. Trees bent under the ferocious attack of the elements outside. Rain pelted the already drenched earth with more moisture and rivers careened out of their banks--flooding the land. It felt as if their home was caught in the middle of a war zone and could explode at any moment. They had lived through such horrors before. The fear was palpable as they embraced and held on, hoping the storm would soon pass.
Burrowed half under the bed they could hear the whimper of their normally fearless dog. Storms frightened her. Once she had been courageous, standing between her family and any foe--seen or unseen, however Katrina changed all that. Now, when the winds rattled their very world, she needed the calming comfort of her people--as they did hers. Sometimes surviving comes with a price.
Calling to her softly, her people encouraged her onto the bed. She not only joined them, but burrowed under the covers between them as if she would climb into their skin. Seeing her sister disappear under the cover, the husky joined them, whimpering as she too joined the family to wait out the storm.
The almost closed door of the bedroom popped open and two small bodies landed in the center of them all--the old man ducking under the covers while the younger of the two cats perched on top of his mother as if daring the storm to come through him before it could reach his mom. For the next hour or so the six drew comfort from one another.
The phone rang. It was the son of the household. He had just gotten off work and didn't want to drive in the torrential storm. He had decided to hole up in his car until it passed. Saying a prayer for safety for them all, she finally slipped off to sleep--warmed and comforted by all the loving presences. The storm passed by.
It was still dark when she opened her eyes. She could feel the weight of all the "family" in one bed. Untangling limbs, she finally was able to rise. Seeing limbs down, deep gouges where the rain had eroded the land, she was thankful that her family was safe, warm, and together. Calling their son, he too had made it home after the storm had abated. There was clean up to be done, but her family was safe. They had survived yet another storm.
We all have storms in our lives. Some are from the elements of the earth. Others are not as obvious--a health crisis, loss of a job, a betrayal, or . . . the unknown. These are the times that even in our fear, when we are terrified of the unknown ahead, we find ourselves at our weakest . . . and yet we find strength to carry on. We find the capacity from deep within to draw comfort, to give comfort, to admit our weakness, to draw from strength other than our own.
These are the times when our faith carries us through even as the storm threatens to tear us apart. We need the comfort, the strength, the reassurance of others. These are the times when we are tested. The storms of life are not there to break us but rather to remind us that we are not alone nor are we intended to be. We are to care for one another, to bear one another's burdens, to stand for those too weak to stand on their own. We are to weather the storms of life together--not alone. Perhaps this is why God reveals God's self to us are three--Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.
God, our parent, our savior, our companion throughout life, help us not to be afraid of asking others to walk with us through the storms of life. Help us to draw strength from one another--both to give and receive comfort along the way. When the storms thunder around us, help us draw together, to support one another, and wait for the dawning sun knowing that whatever comes, you are with us in the storm. So be it. Amen.