Writing in the midst of a storm

Published 5:59 pm Thursday, April 30, 2020

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I’m writing this in the midst of a storm… heavy rain, high winds, lightning and tornados are going through our area.

The first storm went through just north of where we live in Ochlocknee, Georgia, and the second storm went through just south of us in north Florida… both leaving behind a line of heavy damage.

The National Storm Damage Center is a consumer group helping property owners prepare for storms before they come and helping them recover after they are gone.

They list ten types of storms including hail storms, thunderstorms, ice storms, tornadoes, lightning storms, snow storms or blizzards, floods, Derecho Storms, tropical storms and cyclones/hurricanes/typhoons. Each causes it’s own unique type of damage, but, at least for me, a tornado is the scariest storm of all.

Tornadoes are becoming more common in our area and winds of up to 300 mph have been recorded in some places. They are most common in “tornado alley” from Oklahoma to Missouri, but today we’ve felt like we were in the middle of the alley with those red boxes scattered across the weather map.

Lightning storms are different. We lived in Brunswick in the 90’s and I loved the lightning storms. We had a recliner in front of the huge front window in our living room and I’d sit there during rain storms and watch the lightning strikes light up the sky and jump into and race around in the massive oak trees in our neighborhood and think they might be God’s fingers.

The one storm I’d never heard of was a Derecho Storm; it’s a “large, violent, fast-moving, complex of thunderstorms that follow one another along a path of at least 240 miles, with wind gusts of at least 58 mph.”

For comparison, a tropical storm has winds between 39 and 73 mph and hurricanes have winds from 74 mph to over 155 mph. A category 1 hurricane has winds from 74 to 95 mph, a category 2 has winds from 96 to 110 mph, a category 3 has winds from 111 to 130 mph, a category 4 has winds of 131 to 155 mph, and a category 5 has winds over 155 mph. We’ve lived through two hurricanes and hope we never see another one.

“But the LORD is slow to anger but great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.” (Nahum 1:3)

Right now, we’re all living in the eye of a viral storm and the future is uncertain at best. We’re all trying to decide when to open and what to open. A year or so ago, I saw a t-shirt with a message I’ll never forget and one I’ve remembered often as we’ve walked through this viral storm, “The devil whispered in my ear: ‘You’re not strong enough to withstand the storm.’ And I whispered back, ‘I am a child of God, I am the storm.’”