Saturday, May 15, 2010

driving white-knuckled through a Texas thunderstorm

I could see the clouds looming in the distance. They were like a dark wall in the sky, and i was heading right towards them. Just a few weeks ago we had a series of storms pass through birmingham, and I remember looking out the window trying to figure out which direction they were coming from. I had to resort to looking at an online radar to figure out where and when the rain was coming. There was an element of surprise in this, because with all the trees, hills, and valleys, most of the horizon was invisible to me.

Fast-forward to yesterday. I’m on my way back to Dallas, and I’m about 20 miles into east Texas. That’s the first time I saw the clouds. For the next couple hours they were my backdrop. And with each mile I drove, I was inching my way closer and closer to this line of thunderstorms.

It got me thinking about how we react to stuff that happens to us in life. There are times when something comes right out of the blue and surprises you, leaving you spinning with either joy or confusion (and sometimes both). Then there are the times when you can see something coming for miles and miles. There is a sense of foreboding as you wait for the inevitable to happen. All you can do is brace yourself.

My path eventually collided with the oncoming storm. I found myself in the middle of a good ole Texas thunderstorm, wind whipping up patches of dust and trees shaking with the raucous gusts. Rain fell on my windshield like bullets from a gun, with those big splatters that leave crater-like impressions on the glass. The cloudline was so low and dark it seemed to brush against the tops of the trees. I turned my wipers on full blast, put both hands on the wheel, and just drove right on through it.

Sometimes you can brace yourself for things that happen in life, and sometimes you get blindsided. Either way, you’re never fully in control, and thunderstorms have a great way of reminding you of that fact. When the good times, and the bad, roll in, we’re called to keep our eyes fixed on the Author and Perfecter of our faith, not getting consumed by the current around us. There is something reassuring about that call. It reminds us that our attitudes and our reactions are choices. You can either ride the roller-coaster of daily emotions or choose to let joy and hope light up your life regardless of the circumstances.

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