"The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7"
Listen to: Detroit Mass Choir: "The Storm Is Passing Over"
Where were you, Monday, January 26 as we braced for a blizzard to hit the Northeast? I can tell you where I was. Last minute as always, I scampered to get to the grocery store for supplies to carry us through the week. Flustered by the heavy traffic, I pulled rather crookedly into a parking spot, intending to straighten out. Immediately I heard the blare of a car horn -- a driver was obviously not please with how I parked. I found myself in a dilemma -- I wanted to back out, but the driver was so close I couldn't maneuver. She needed to back up to allow me to park more evenly. I waited and waited until she realized she had to back up to let me fix my error. Once correctly aligned, I received a withering look that wanted to know if I learned to learned to park in a desert. Chastised, I hurried to the drugstore and I noticed another sign of the pre-storm malaise: shoppers had ditched their carts in such a sloppy way that a parked car was actually tramped in.
I share these illustrations not to gloat or criticize. In these examples I immediately see myself. I am impatient and careless of other's needs too. There are many kinds of storms and the worst kind are the ones we must battle daily: the storms of the spirit. A storm is a violent disturbance, forces clashing to produce all sorts of reactions. Natural storms bring us heavy rains, snow, hail, strong winds, lightening and thunder. Spiritual storms are battles between our natural wills, expectations and desires and real life. Spiritual storms also result from clashes between our will and God's will. Spiritual storms arise as our life circumstances change and we must learn to adapt, change and have patience. In the storms of life we are called to face our fears and control our angers and disappointments.
Monday morning I felt convicted of how I contribute to storms around me. I recognized the snap judgments I make without having all the facts. I saw how easy I can fly off the handle with no consideration for the feelings of others. With regret I remembered my lack of care for the needs of others. I saw how all these responses did not enhance my quality of life. Quite the contrary. When I failed to consider God and others I felt pummeled by negativity. So as I shopped I was mindful to smile and be courteous to the short tempers I encountered. They were just as fussed as I was. Placing the irritation and anxiety in God's hands didn't stop the storm from coming. However it did stop the storm in me. That makes all the difference, doesn't it?
What storms are raging within you?
Pray: "God, calm the waves of impatience within me. Calm the hail of judgment and criticisms. Calm the winds of fear and anxiety. Grant me peace - no matter what I am facing."