A thunderstorm passed through.
Rains fell, ground waters swelled, and we could tell there was deepening trouble ahead, a blunder in the informing, storming, norming, performing dance of becoming one.
Relationships torn asunder have left everyone concerned to wonder what happened.
Does this sound familiar?
As we think about the rain and rumblings in the background of such a storm, we also consider the strain and grumblings in the foreground of leadership responsibilities which may bear down with surprising force. They fall on unsuspecting parties of celebratory thanks for the many ways in which blue skies of blessing had been manifest in recent days and leave our spirits dampened in the process.
Flashing lights in distant clouds may have caught our attention but we had hoped fierce storms would dissipate over the mountains and valleys, the ups and downs of ministry between then and now which had taken seriously the changing temperatures of widely ranging temperaments on a collision course. We had hoped the darkest of clouds would break up and allow peaceful discourse to seek the gentle rains of constructive conversation together which would water the earth of communal soil with richness and refined direction in the Spirit.
But toes have been stepped on and we’re in the throes of clashing, crashing wills.
Or perhaps it was an emotional storm of unexpected grief and loss impacting many, a jolting bolt out of nowhere. Or, a spiritual storm rising up within without any thought for its timing. Or, a theological storm which broke loose and caused leaks of dissension to spill over sills of civility.
And you are drenched with heart wrenching cracks and flashes overhead, all around, or within.
Come be sheltered in the presence of his saving grace. Stand behind screens of faithful promises which hold us secure when dark clouds roll nearby and unleash their fury.
Step inside his love to live through the storm from the safe distance of his protection, knowing he is in the mix of misty missed perfection and mystery falling all about us to saturate dry ground, to soften rigid corners and hardened pathways of unhelpful patterns.
We can run helter skelter trying to avoid the pain, or calmly stand in the shelter he provides: Jesus, the One who speaks to the wind and the rain … and it listens.
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the godly run to him and are safe.” (Prov. 18:10)
‘Lord, you are a loving fortress who goes to any length and height to keep us safe in the storms. Wash away all fear. Be for us a tower of strength in the knowledge that you, Spirit of God, will be present with us until the day when clouds will part and the brightness of your glorious return will fill the sky replacing every storm.
War zones trapped in deepest hostility will be transformed into rows of peaceful homes. Lack of accord in community life will be conformed to the glory of Jesus Christ. Horrors of hatred will cease. Death will no more have a hold and wounds which destroy will be healed. A thunderous hallelujah!
But for each one caught in the downpour of difficult situations today, may your reign of grace fill hearts to receive your merciful insight inciting us to be refreshed in your love and grow more like you, rain or shine. Amen.’