You know the feeling when the breeze picks up slightly and the air chills and the dark clouds get darker still? Usually, this happens just before a storm. I love storms. I enjoy the adrenaline that comes with watching lightning explode across the night sky or feeling thunder shake the earth. For the most part, storms aren't bad; they are actually good. After a good storm, the grass gets thicker and greener, the streams are full, and the earth feels pure. But sometimes, storms can be very, very bad.
The day of the NCAA Men's National Championship game, a really bad storm ravaged the southeast. Houses, buildings, streets, and schools were completely demolished. By now, you've probably seen a few pictures showing the terrible damage done. My city, which has around fifty thousand occupants, lost power for about fifteen hours. As my family drove around trying to find an open restaurant (in order to keep the fridge door closed and food preserved), we came a part of town that is usually very busy with shoppers going to Walmart, Home Depot, Fugi's, Cheddar's, O'Charley's, Stake 'N Shake, Chop House, Cracker Barrel, Demos', Lifechurch, Lowe's, and dozens of other small business. You know what we saw? Nothing. It was complete blackness. We had just come from a strip mall that was powered and lit up, but after cresting a hill, we saw nothing. It was surreal, and though I was excited to be a part of something that felt like Modern Warfare 2, I admit, I was a little frightened. This storm had meant business.
And sometimes, we experience storms like this one in our lives. I've gone through a few big storms, and though I hated them when they happened, I was always better because of them. They hurt; they made me bleed; I even have emotional scars from them. But I'm a wiser, smarter, stronger, better young man because of them.
Unforunately, I think I can feel a big storm brewing again. Not for me, but for some loved ones. I cannot share details to protect my friends' trust in me. But a friend's adult daughter has apparently become an apostate. A friend's relative just found out she has cancer, and it's going to be tough to kill. A young couple's unborn baby, their second child, has major heart issues, and life itself would be a miracle at this point. Three families that I love dearly are going through or are on the brink of nasty storms. And as much as I don't want them to experience pain, I know it will play out for God's glory. I just hate feeling helpless as I watch my friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ, go through hard times. My parents had two miscarriages before me, so I know from them the pain of losing a loved one.
Ephesians 3:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Though I've never lost someone I loved dearly, I fear my friends are about to go through that very storm. Please keep my friends in your prayers this summer. Pray for each of the three families, and pray for strength, love, understanding, and peace. Pray and petition God on behalf of my friends. Pray that His peace will guard their hearts and minds from questioning His authority or wanting something or someone more than God or from a temptation to leave Him. Simply pray.