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"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sovereign in the Storm


The rains came Sunday, I think.

The winds blew and the sky was dark and cloudy.

I took a walk in the rain.

After church in the evening, I took a shower,

Brushed my teeth,

Prayed,

Read my Bible,

And was about to get into bed

When the power went out.


People were in the hall

Making all sorts of noise.

I waited for the power to come on.

It flickered a bit,

But didn't come back on.

My alarm clock was out of commission.

My cell phone alarm only works 10% of the time.

I called my friend and asked her to wake me up in the morning,

Then went to bed.


She called

And the power was back on

And I plugged everything back in,

Got dressed,

Read my Bible,

Listened to a sermon,

Went to class.


It was rainy

And cold.

The wind was blowing hard.

A short walk outside got the front of my jeans soaked.

My best friend and her roommate had planned a shopping trip to WalMart.

I, of course, decided to go along.


We got there safely,

In spite of the wind and rain,

Though we had a hard time fighting the wind to get the car doors open.

We shopped,

Paid for our purchases,

And walked toward the exit.

The doors slid open in front of us

And we stopped.

And stared.


The rain was falling sideways,

Pushed by great gusts of wind.

It did not look pretty.

We pushed the cart to the car as quickly as we could.

My friends put the bags in the back,

I drove the empty cart into the return.

As I rushed back to get into the nice, (comparatively) warm car,

A gust of wind pushed me three steps forward.

It was a mess outside.


We made it safely back,

Unloaded groceries,

Had dinner.

My friend's roommate drove me back to my dorm

So I wouldn't have to walk in the storm.

I did homework for a few hours,

Accomplished things,

Then got ready for bed again,

Set my alarm,

Snuggled up under the covers,

And went to sleep.


My alarm didn't wake me up the next morning.

My refrigerator was no longer running.

My microwave clock was black.

The ceiling light didn't work.

The power was out.

Tired as I was, I was thinking fondly of going back to bed,

So I turned on my laptop to find out if classes were cancelled.

The wi-fi was down.

My cable didn't work either.

I turned my laptop back off,

Trying to conserve as much of my 2-hour battery as possible.

I called my friend.

"Classes are cancelled, honey," she said when she answered.

That settled it.

I went back to bed.


A few minutes later, my phone rang.

My family didn't have power, either.

Mom wanted to bring me the food, dishes, and money I'd forgotten,

Go shopping somewhere that had power.

That sounded a lot more fun than sitting in my room with two hours of laptop battery and no wi-fi.

She picked me up

And we bought some things I needed,

Had lunch,

Walked around the mall.

It was nice.


I went back to my dorm,

Unpacked the things we'd just bought,

Took a walk,

And went to visit my friends.

We found out that the lounge had wi-fi,

So we went there and worked until my laptop battery was almost dead,

And then I left to meet another friend for dinner.


It was amazing how much they had running,

Options of made-to-order stir fry, hamburgers, sandwiches, and pasta.

A generator kept some power going.

Phone charging stations were available.

A few lights were on, but it was mostly dark.

The lighting went well with the halloween decorations everywhere.


I couldn't find my friend,

So I ran to my dorm to get something out of my room.

In my journey around campus,

I discovered that somewhere around four buildings had power,

Which isn't really that many,

Especially considering three of them were dorms I didn't have access to.

Most of the campus was totally dark.


I got back to where my friends were,

Followed one to the stairwell where groups of people were sitting on the floor

Around the only four outlets in the entire building that had power flowing through them.

She was charging her laptop there.

I told her the science buildings seemed to have power,

So the three of us decided to journey over there.

We discovered light and warmth and outlets that would charge our phones.

Two went back to retrieve our stuff.

I stayed behind to let them in.


We sat in a lounge,

Where we plugged in our laptops

And ordered pizza.

Morning classes were cancelled.

The decision for afternoon was to be announced by 10 AM the next day.

We had a very productive night,

Stayed there kind of late,

Then went back to our dark, cold dorms.


There was no light

No heat

And no hot water.

For probably the first time in my life,

I didn't take a shower before going to bed.

I brushed my teeth in the dark

And read my Bible by the light of my cell phone.

I went to bed around one,

Hoping desperately that the power would remain off -

Just for one more day,

Just one more day of cancelled classes,

Just one more day to catch up on homework -

Then come on in the afternoon.


I woke up at 11 o'clock the next morning to a ringing phone.

My friend had honored my request to call when she got the text message with the decision on classes.

"Mary, guess what?"

I looked at my still-black alarm clock.  "Classes are cancelled."

"Classes are cancelled for the rest of the week!"


We were all encouraged to go home

To power

And hot water

And heat.

Our plans had all changed.

Some people were upset.

Most were thrilled.

All were shocked

That we got a whole four days off

Because of a hurricane.

Not something that happens very often where we live.


This is the second natural disaster I've survived this year,

And it continues to amaze me

How hard these things are to wrap my head around.

I love the rain

And the wind,

All they tell me about the beauty and power of God,

But something about these huge storms makes me feel a little differently.

Maybe it's because I'm not in control.

Even though I haven't been affected nearly as much as others have,

I have a hard time rejoicing in the fact that God is Sovereign over these storms.


When roller coasters are washed out into the ocean,

Trampolines end up on power lines,

So many have to evacuate,

Millions are without power,

And some have even been killed . . .

It just doesn't seem right.

And yet it is.


It makes me think of a verse out of the book we're memorizing,

"God cannot be tempted with evil."

He is Good and can do no wrong.

So why does this feel so wrong?



I think -

I think -

That it's because I expect things.

I feel like I deserve them.

I feel like I'm entitled to electricity and wi-fi and a hot shower every night.

When I think I'm entitled,

I forget that I'm blessed.



Truth is, I don't deserve any of those things.

They're all gifts.

Really, what percentage of the world doesn't have electricity?

Hot water?

Any running water at all?

How many people on this planet don't even own a computer,

Much less have wi-fi?

Aren't I blessed to be able to brush my teeth,

Even if I can't see what I'm doing?

Why do I so easily forget that everything I could lose

I don't deserve in the first place?



And all these power outages?

They made me appreciate all the things I take for granted,

Made me grateful.

And when I wrap my head around all that,

I realize that this is the way it's supposed to be,

And the fact that He's Sovereign in this storm isn't something I fear,

But something I rest in,

Trust.

He is Good.

So, so Good.




Sorry, no reasons from me again.  Yes, I know.  This is the third week.  It's been busy.  On the bright side, I will have plenty of time this weekend to count!

(Sylvia's already made it to - past - 10,000!  I've been meditating on the beauty of this all week!)

<a href="http://maryschieferstein.blogspot.com/search/label/10000%20Reasons" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8zkGH23srZ8/T2i3Bun0O9I/AAAAAAAABSw/8giPvnJmCPI/s320/10000ReasonsButton.jpg" /></a>

Counting in community:




2 comments:

Sylvia R said...

Ah, storms have so much to teach us! I'm remembering a beautiful lesson in a crippling ice storm: "We all have ice storms in our lives. It's just interesting to see what different people do with them." Thanks for sharing this, Mary. I was wondering where you were and if you were affected.

Mary said...

Thank you, Sylvia! Yes, storms most definitely have a lot to teach us, which is good, because I have so much to learn!

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