Riders on the Storm
I remember the day with clarity. We were on a family bike ride. The skies grew darker and the wind turned from a breeze to horizontal sailing weather. We rode on. We watched the towering clouds gather more darkness and the electrical storm was surging toward us with incredible speed. We rode on. At one point my judgment in suggesting the bike ride and my stubbornness to keep going was called into question. We rode on. Halfway through the debacle, we took shelter in a gorge beneath a stand of White Pine trees. After a thought of our location we all agreed the tree shelter was not the best idea and so we rode on.
The rain began innocently enough and I still believed we would be fine. I am writing this now 25+ years after the fact so you know the end of the story. As we peddled furiously along the highway, automobiles were advancing toward us with headlights on and windshield wipers now waving desperately to keep the windshield clear and still we rode on.
There comes a time in a person's life where stubbornness and common sense have to collide and mine never did that day. My wife and children were blindly trusting me and I was making decisions that put us all in jeopardy. In the midst of this bike ride from hades, the rain pelting us turned to a few hail stones which didn't feel so good on our bodies....
I never heard my family utter oaths against me that day although I am sure they thought I was possessed of the devil. Looking in the rearview mirror over the years has helped me see the folly of my choices that day and in most family conversations we laugh about that fateful day (sort of....).
Have you ever been in a bind and sought the Lord's presence to protect you even at the notion of your own missteps and miscalculations? I stopped counting my mistakes after I hit 6,957 times. Ironically, the Lord has shown up in my life 6,958 times to pull me out of the morass and bring stability to an otherwise deteriorating situation. Hopefully, you have experienced the Lord's abiding presence in your life of mistakes and bad choices.
The Lord Appears to Elijah
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Elijah, was running into and out of fearful moments and now in 1 Kings 19 has reached the end of his trust rope. In times of roiling unrest, it is good for us to cry out to God and seek solace. Elijah did. I did. I'm sure you have. When life has gone sideways and there is no firm place to stand, our God is a rock in the storm. Elijah heard the roar of a powerful wind, an earthquake, and the fire but couldn't hear God's commanding voice. But then, there, did you hear it? The gentle whisper of God spoke into Elijah's chaos and brought peace that surpassed his comprehension. That same whisper often does the same for us. Good days we catch it; harried days we miss it.
I pray for the whispers of God to calm your troubled souls and to bring a place of comfort in these ongoing storms of unrest. It is the one place that affords us assurance that God who spoke the Creation into existence can and will provide for us. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, especially when riding through a storm.
"A Musing Pastor"
PS: Our bicycles were never cleaner than that day!