One of the things so prevalent during these hot and humid South Carolina summer months is the inevitability of afternoon thunderstorms popping up, seemingly out of nowhere.
These always have the effect of causing us to have to quickly move inside from whatever outside activity we are doing at the moment; gardening, golfing, or grilling. Thankfully, these storms never seem to last too long, and in the end they sometimes leave us with much appreciated lower temperatures, and on occasion the gift of a rainbow: God’s visible sign of the covenant he has made with us.
When I was a young boy these storms would often both frighten and captivate me. It was entertaining to watch the indiscriminate blue flashes of lightning popping here and there, and to feel the giant booms of thunder shaking, not just the glasses in the cabinets, but sometimes the entire house! These storms always made me feel small and powerless in the midst of them.
In reality, I was just that. I was small and powerless to do anything about them, except patiently wait them out, a safe distance away from the windows. When a storm would be particularly long and powerful, I could remember my grandmother comforting me by saying, “this too shall pass.” Grandmothers say some of the best things. Her words seemed so wise, almost biblical. And since I could remember watching her read her Holy Bible every day, I assumed it was. Yet, I have come to learn that it isn’t, at least not word for word. But for sure, the roots of it rest deep within the foundation of that good book which speaks to us so clearly of the God who provides us with new life in Jesus Christ. It is a book that reminds us that the storms don’t last forever. It is a book that reminds us that our God not only provides us shelter from the storm, but is, in fact, that shelter for us. We are invited, even welcomed, to hide ourselves in Him, as the Psalmist would say. Which means that even as we face the sudden and unexpected storms of life, and regardless of how small and out of control we may feel in them, we can take comfort in the fact that God is with us in the storm, that He will protect us and see us through it.
It is true that this COVID-19 season has come at us suddenly and spectacularly, and that it has lingered much longer than maybe most of us expected or imagined that it would. It has certainly had the effect of sending us running “inside” for safety, while hitting the pause button on the life we were living outside before the storm arrived. It has definitely reminded us of just how small we are. Yet, like summer thunderstorms, this season will not last forever. That is good news. Even more so, is the good news that while we are going through this storm, God is with us as we go through this time, comforting us through the Holy Spirit of the risen Jesus. And when this storm has passed, may the clearest thing be the vision of God’s love for us, as beautiful and remarkable as a summer rainbow.
Chris Leonard is a pastor at Rock Presbyterian ECO. He can be reached at email@example.com