THE EYE OF THE STORM
Someone once said, “Writing is easy you just sit at the typewriter and bleed on the keys.” That has been my experience the past 28 days; this has been a painful yet fulfilling experience. I have reminisced over some wonderful days and relived some of the worst. I have smiled and shed a tear or two. Thank you for joining me on this journey. I hope you have seen your story in mine and that together, we see our stories as subplots in God’s grand tale of love, justice, redemption, and glory.
I picked the title, The Eye of the Storm, for two reasons – both realities I have come to know.
First, storms exist. I’ve shared one that I lived through, but everyone has their own story to share. Sooner or later, we all face a hurricane, some category 1, others category 5. No one escapes the winds forever.
Second, seasons of grace come our way as well. Hard times are followed by calm reprieves, allowing us to enjoy seasons of peace and joy. We swing between pleasant and dreadful days asking, how could things be any better? And then, how could things get any worse?
Every hurricane holds an eye of calm; after the first blast and before the second there’s a window of peace. In our lives, the “eye” provides tedious days of routine challenge, duty, work, and rest. Wonderful days of monotonous repetition that create a sense of normalcy. Those days are memorable for their sameness and noteworthy for their dullness. Hurrah for beige!
During the eye of the storm we can work, play, relax, or fritter away our time. But if we are wise, we will use that season of grace to prepare for the next gale that is sure to come. Wise people board their windows, repair damage, clear debris, restock supplies, recharge cell phones, and check on neighbors. They know another storm is on its way.
Our preparation for the spiritual, emotional, and relational storms that are sure to blow into our lives is as simple as following the Greatest Commandment.
A teacher of the law came to Jesus and asked Him an academic question: which commandment did Jesus perceive to be the greatest? Mark recorded the encounter.
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.’" (Mark 12:29-31).
Love God and love others. It sounds lofty and theoretical, but in fact, it is down to earth and practical. Loving God in the eye of the storm readies us to trust Him – His love, His goodness, His wisdom, His strength, and His peace when the storm’s furry returns. Loving our neighbors as ourselves ensures that we will have a committed community of support when the next gale blows our direction.
This two-part command is not a burden to bear or a responsibility to make our lives complicated. It is not given to make us feel like failures every time we neglect a friend or wander from God. This command is an invaluable gift designed to help us use the eye of the storm wisely so that we can withstand the next onslaught. It is truly a gift of grace.
We need a deeper awareness of who God is, how much He loves us, what He has done for us, and what He expects from our lives. The eye of the storm provides margins in our lives to study God’s Word, examine our lives, connect with Him through prayer, and respond to Him with obedience and worship. That is some of what it means to, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
We need deeper friendships with others. We need people we can trust and people who care deeply about us. People who will love us when we cannot love ourselves. People who will step into our lives when we feel all alone. People who will provide strength when we are weak. People who will tell us the truth even when it hurts. That is why it is critical to love your neighbor as yourself.
There is never closure; the storm is never over until life is over. But there are eyes in the storms, when peace and calm prevail – for a while. Those are the moments for us to evaluate and decide, how will we ride out the next storm that blows into our life? And that is determined by the choices we make in the eye of the storm.