Tempest


You’d think we’d be hardened to the massive storm-fronts and sudden blizzards darkening blue Alberta skies with a staggering ferocity, but I admit, it still takes my breath away. Such was the case last Saturday when travel through an unfolding blast was absolutely unavoidable and another one of those white-knuckle rides.


After a month of deliciously balmy weather, blustery, heavy snow bore down the very hour we were to set out. I marveled again at how tissue-paper thin and delusional our sense of control really is. Most of the time, we cruise around in our climate-controlled vehicles, shuttling between home and market-place, observing the weather through triple-paned glass and cement sky-scrapers, checking unfolding conditions from the bland impartiality of our smart phones. Nothing like being blown around on the open road in a small vehicle to give you a wake-up call in reality. As we cut across the storm front, the gusty squall cleared miraculously into sudden calm. It was absurd, and after two hours of slogging, our relief was palpable. We bundled for home!


As any adult knows, weather isn’t the only thing that throw a sudden tempest. Relationships are notoriously volatile, often taking a capricious, turbulent turn with absolutely no warning. A thoughtless comment, a careless first-impression, even a spontaneous tweet can spark a full-blown conflagration. Highly-charged political situations at work or precarious family chemistry require dexterous maneuvering. Banked-down offence erupts into a violent confrontation, spitting anger and spite. All our passive-aggressive repression suddenly exposes the true viper within. It’s a full-blown tempest.


It’s not that easy to mollify offence, especially in people who perversely enjoy confrontation and conflict. David likened his experience with the haters to being in an unending storm of danger and betrayal.


Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: Incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.

Show thy marvelous lovingkindness, O thou that save by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them!

Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about. Psalm 17:4-12 KJV


It’s illuminating to study the Psalms of David because he’s such a survivor of extreme physical and spiritual peril. His secret? David has the ability to be painfully honest with himself, venting his raw terror and frustration in such a way that it mixes with faith, and morphs into worship. Time and again he enters presence and peace of God: an unfailingly tranquil eye in the midst of the maelstrom. By mastering himself and simply calming down to re-calibrate onto Divine wavelengths, he escapes the vortex of both external jeopardy and internal turmoil. He escapes into the eye of the storm.


We inhabit an age when everyone is ridiculously busy and painfully overstressed. Emotional balance is not our strong suit. It’s all too easy to vent our pent-up stock-pile of angst on the innocent as the proverbial straw breaks the camel’s back of our control. It can feel like no one cares – no one has our true well-being at heart. We simply move from one instability into another, with no rest in sight. Nothing could be further from the truth. How pathetically little we understand of the Lord’s great tenderness to us. How foolish we are, like colicky children, to resist the sweet grace He would love to envelope us in. How often we stymie His great condescension and indulgence with our selfishness and dread. If only we could stop fussing for a moment, and listen for the still, small voice saying “this is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21).


For thus says the Lord of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye. Zechariah 2:8


“The apple of your eye”. To say someone is the apple of your eye means that they melt at the mention of your name. You are the most beloved, indulged and protected person in their orbit. Their gaze is always on you. Their heart is utterly tied up on your welfare. They are completely irrational about giving you everything you long for. There’s nothing they wouldn’t do. To be the apple of His eye, and know it, always keeps us safe in the eye of the storm.


Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, So that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven. Psalm 107:28-30 NKJV



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