It was a Sunday afternoon as I made my way back to Phoenix accompanied by the insightful words from a pastor back home speaking over the stereo. The sermon was about peace, a peace that transcends all understanding that only the Lord can provide...and wow was this sermon more than relevant on this drive home. I experienced His hand of protection, comfort, and surreal peace all at once on this SUPPOSED hour and a half drive…
About 30 minutes into my drive it started to get windy...and within minutes that light breeze turned into a massive dust storm with raging winds accumulating dirt, building it into a wall of dust over a thousand feet tall, towering in the once blue skies.
Colors of brown and orange swirled around me forming a barricade against the sun, blocking it out, and it became dark in a matter of seconds leaving me without sight of anything in front of me. I had every intention of staying calm but my hands didn't get the memo and began to shake vigorously as I did my best to hold control of my little Corolla and pull off to the side of the road.
And as I sat there, relentlessly, the wind aggressively shook my car, all the while as words of peace were filling my ears. I tried to hang tight to the words being spoken but all I could focus on was the disaster occurring in front of me and the fear that was beginning to seep in, and at that moment, peace was the least of things I was feeling.
Soon enough the wind calmed down and I could see enough to drive, relieved I was back on my way until moments later part two of that wall came raging towards me leaving me on the side of the freeway once again. My heart was racing, panic set in as the wind slammed against my car like it was a punching bag... and then I heard what sounded like rocks on my windshield...but they weren't rocks... they were the start to the most terrifying monsoon I've ever experienced. And there I was, on the side of the road in the middle of the desert isolated by my own fear.
"You of little faith, why are you so afraid?...." – Matthew 8:26a
At this moment, as thunder shook my car and lightning struck down right in front of me, I did the one thing I could do. I prayed.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7
I closed my eyes, disconnecting myself from the chaos happening all around me, and began to talk to the One who already knew my fears, who was already watching out for me in the midst of this storm. As I prayed I reflected on parts of the sermon I just heard and hung tight to Philippians 4:6-7. I thought about the time Jesus was in the boat while a terrifying storm sprung fear into His disciples and how He calmed the wind and the waves. I was reminded in that moment of Gods great power to take control of anything. As I opened my eyes I felt Him so close to me, as if He was sitting in the passenger's seat as I felt a sense of peace cover me that truly was and still is unexplainable. I felt comfort in the reminder that I wasn't alone as I sat in my car in the middle of the desert because I knew God was with me, and He always has been and always will be. Like every storm, this one eventually passed, but it was through the peace God provided me with, that I am able to look back knowing I got through this because of Him, just like every storm I've faced in life, I have gotten through it because of the One who has the power to calm the storms.
"…Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm."-Matthew 8: 26b
It's in the storms of life when doubt, fear, anxiety, pain, and a multitude of other emotions start as a light sprinkle but can quickly turn into a flood causing you to feel overwhelmed by the fear of being swept away by the storm. So often we take up the unnecessary burden to try and save ourselves from the destruction and confusion going on around us, thinking we can bring about the peace and comfort we so greatly desire. But it's in the moments where we take that deep breath and close our eyes in prayer, shutting out the chaos around us, and talk to the only One who has the power to calm the storms, that we begin to experience the provision of a peace that transcends all understanding when we lay those burdens in His hands.
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33
Every storm runs, runs out of rain
Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain
It's gonna run out of pain
It's gonna run out of sting
It's gonna leave you alone
So hold your head up and tell yourself that there's something more
-Every Storm: Gary Allan