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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Flash Flood Warnings!

To whom do you run when you face troubles?  I remember awful summer storms in the Arizona desert, lightning flashing across the sky, black clouds rolling in around on all sides, and loud rolls of thunder shaking the very panes in the windows.  It wasn't so bad when I was nestled all secure in the safety of my home, mom close at hand.  It was terrifying when I found myself a couple doors down, caught in the sudden down pour and only fence upon fence separating me from that absolute safety of mom's care!  I would remember hearing her calling for me and before long, her arms would come over the fence, lifting me to "safety" in those loving arms of hers.  She'd rush me inside and then all would be well.  You know, God is kind of like my mom - he has big enough arms to reach over obstacles in my path; a loud enough voice to be heard over the cacophony of noise in my world; and a tender, enveloping embrace which makes me feel at peace once I enter into it!

I run to you, God; I run for dear life.  Don’t let me down!  Take me seriously this time!  Get down on my level and listen, and please—no procrastination! Your granite cave a hiding place, your high cliff aerie a place of safety. You’re my cave to hide in, my cliff to climb. Be my safe leader, be my true mountain guide.  Free me from hidden traps; I want to hide in you.  I’ve put my life in your hands.  You won’t drop me, you’ll never let me down.  (Psalm 31:1-5 MSG)

When those summer storms hit, my greatest fears were the tremendous "energy" which seemed to be generated in the midst of them.  The winds were horrendous - gusts in excess of 50 miles per hour sometimes.  The dust billowing in around seemed to almost occlude the visibility.  The tremendous lightning show would take down trees, light up the sky, and put the fear of being fried to a frizzle into almost all of us.  Then there came the down pour of rain, with sudden force and the gully-washers of flash-floods.  Dry washes would fill with muddied waters flowing at tremendous force, making passage across them impossible. To be caught on the opposite side of where you needed to be almost ensured you were riding out the storm right where you were!  

There are times in our lives when the same sudden force and fury of chaotic frenzy comes in upon us in ways we cannot imagine possible.  We face the fear of the moment with almost the same response:  "Daddy - rescue me!"  It might sound like "God I need your help here" when you say it, but it all means the same thing!  As our heavenly Father, he delights in hearing our cries for help and he is quick to reach over those obstacles of life with his big arms, lifting us safely into his embrace!  

As our writer aptly puts it, God "gets down on our level and listens to our needs".  His response is to meet us right where we are, but not to leave us there - he lifts us up to a new level - one which we could not see because of the obstacles in our midst.  He becomes the granite cave we hide within and the high cliff from which we can see above the "storm".  I have flown in airplanes, knowing full-well all manner of snow, wind, rain, hail, etc., was going on below me.  From up above the storm, it doesn't look as ominous, does it?  In fact, it kind of pales in comparison to the vastness of the blue sky spread out on all sides of us!  I think this is what God does for us when we cannot see the vastness of his love and care because of the horror of the storms billowing.  

Most importantly, we can rest in this fact - God never fails to see the storm long before it comes our way.  He prepares for the very help we will need when the winds blow and the noise almost overwhelms us.  To this day, my daughter is scared of thunder and lightning.  It wasn't because I didn't rescue her the way my mom did, but because she just is.  But...she isn't when I am around, or she can call me to just talk, or when she is safely buttoned up in the comfort of her home.  Why?  As long as she is sheltered and she hears the familiar voice, she is safe!  Guess what?  As long as we know we are able to run into his shelter and hear his familiar voice, we will not fear the storm either!  Just sayin!