Gary and I are preparing for a huge backyard project that requires us to remove our fence. Gary doesn’t have much time for this kind of outdoor work, so the extended daylight in the evening has been a help. All day yesterday the weather was perfect, though a little windy. Yet I was reading on the weather information on-line, or hearing on the local news, that we might get some storms in the evening. You’d never know it to look outside, I thought. Such a sunny day it was!
Gary came home from work and we sat down for supper, as we always do. This time together is very special – time to enjoy dinner, talk about our day, and just relax with each other. But looking outside, we noticed some gathering dark clouds on the horizon. A few minutes later we heard a low, distant rumble of thunder. Knowing that Gary wanted to take more of the fence down, we didn’t linger over our dinner. After eating, Gary hurried on outside while I quickly cleaned the kitchen. Then I joined him at the soon-to-be-gone fence. He dismantled while I carried boards over to the stack that he had begun the night before. Jackson, our huge Great Dane, went back and forth between us, all the while sniffing the heavy air as if he knew that something was brewing.
And brewing it was! The clouds were rolling and darkening by the minute as we hurried to complete another section of fence. We didn’t want this interruption to stop us from completing the sections that Gary had begun. The thunder was much more frequent and the winds were stronger. Finally, there was a bright flash of lightning, and soon our back door opened as Aaron burst out to tell us about the lightning he had just seen. We continued to scurry about our job in the hopes of finishing at least this certain part that Gary had begun. The storm was building, the threat was worsening, and the lightning becoming more frequent and intense. Gary insisted that I go inside, then, while he completed removing just a few more boards. Finally, he was able to remove the boards before hurrying inside to safety. Sure enough, as the evening progressed, the storm increased. The rain came, the lightning seemed constant, the thunder boomed, and the hail pinged off the windows. And this morning – the sun is bright, the birds are singing, the air is fresh and cool. The storm has passed.
Gary and I wouldn’t have chosen to have a storm at that time last night, even though we always need the rain. The rain causes our grass and flowers to grow, and nourishes our trees. But last night we had planned to finish the fence. This interruption has been a set-back, a delay, in what we wanted to accomplish. Our weekend will be busy and now our schedule has to be adjusted. And isn’t this just how life’s delays are? Delays can be for good and happy reasons, but more often our bumps in the road are not very pleasant.
We see the storms on our horizon and feel the heaviness in the air. Sometimes it happens overnight; at other times we watch it coming over a period of weeks and months. Those trials of life; those hurts; those fears; those great disappointments. We walk out of the doctor’s office, stunned at the sobering news we’ve just been handed. We stand beside the grave of our loved one, never dreaming we would be in this place at this time of life. We pick up the phone and hear our child’s voice, broken and confused. We perhaps experience the coldness of a relationship that at one time was dear and valuable to us. We watch others experience financial blessing or other joys that never seem to quite come our way. We wait for the other shoe to drop; wait for the surgery; wait for the pink slip; wait for the loneliness to go away; wait for the consequences of our child’s actions to happen…………..while we wish that we could have just enjoyed life and been able to accomplish those things that we set out to do in the beginning.
But last night, as I looked in one direction, all I saw was darkness and heaviness. Yet when I turned around and looked behind me, I saw the beautiful opening in the clouds. I saw the sun’s rays streaming through, outlining the clouds in silver. There was hope! The end of the storms would come and there was glorious light to anticipate. God was there! And God is there in the middle of our deep trials and terrible hurts. A God Who has a reason for our pain and Who gives us that eternal perspective in our trials that carries us through. Paul certainly experienced deep suffering and in Romans 8:18 he said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.” And again in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”
Look to the future, to the plan that God has that we don’t know or understand or can’t even fathom at this point. The sufferings that we experience now are nothing compared to the eternal glory that awaits those that know Him. The clouds will open, even it’s not until heaven, but there is a reason and there is a hope for each of us. Let’s keep our eyes on the One Who sent the storm and trust Him for the outcome!