by Jennifer Meehan 5/11/21
Recently, I was awakened in the middle of the night by the crack and boom of a severe thunderstorm passing right over my head. Lying awake through the rumbling booms and near-constant flashes of lightning, I found myself listening for the patter of little feet running down the hall.
My kids are teens now, and way “too cool” to come running to our bed when middle-of-the-night storms wake them. As I lay there, I found myself missing those days, and recalling how each of my three children approached thunderstorms in their own way.
At the first crack of thunder, my youngest son would bolt into the safety of our bedroom. My older son took a little longer, waiting to see if the storm would pass quickly, but when it lingered on, he nearly always appeared in our room. My daughter stood firm; she tried to sleep through it. She would cover her face with her pillow and bury herself under a pile of stuffed animals. When she finally did appear at our door, it was always with a tinge of frustration in her voice. She wanted to do this on her own… but the storm was more persistent than she was.
Recalling my kids’ reactions to storms raging outside made me think about the different reactions I have to the storms which weather my life. When do I bolt immediately into my Father’s arms? How often do I tend to wait and see? Will this storm pass quickly? Do I actually need to leave my comfortable place and reach out for my Father’s hand, or can I just wait it out? And, how often do I try to hunker down and get through it all on my own?
Experience – and logic – tell me that the best results and the deepest peace come from bolting immediately into my Father’s arms. My youngest son always fell back to sleep nearly immediately after snuggling into our bed. One or two deep sighs, hands reaching out to touch both of us, and he began to snore. The other children tossed and turned and fussed along with the storm, unable to find peace, even after they’d sought our shelter.
I notice the same pattern in my life. When I remember to turn to God in prayer, immediately upon facing some fright or storm, I reach that place of peace quicker. The longer I cling to the notion that I can control it, that I can fix it, or even that I can endure it alone, the longer it takes me to accept the peace and protection my Father offers me.
When the storms of life – whether actual thunderstorms or the storms of anxiety and fear – wake me in the night these days, I try to remember that peace, stillness, and the confidence of my Father awaits me. All I need to do is reach out for His Hand and rest in His arms.