When Storms Come

When the school year finally rang its last bell, I felt confident the summer would bring lots of sunshine, happiness, and much-needed rest. Instead, we got rain—lots and lots of rain. 
Thirty-five trillion gallons of rain fell (by May), and water soon flooded parts of North Texas. Many folks lost their homes, their livelihood. Perhaps the sun will come out tomorrow?

The rain eventually stopped, but my mood didn’t change. 
I noticed the political tornadoes forming all over the news and social media. Along with these types of violent twisters came unkind words, hurt feelings, and broken friendships. The destruction continues, and it still moves chaotically all over the place.
I’m getting off social media, I told myself. Then Orlando happened, and a different kind of rain fell on our country. 
When David faced trouble, he felt God had left him—“I am cut off from your sight!” (Ps. 31:22). I have felt like David so many times over the past several weeks. Overwhelmed with the events plaguing our country, our city, our homes. 
Think about good things. These storms will soon pass. As quickly as I say those words to myself, my heart jumps at the chance to disregard the hard. And  I remember the garden. 
I recall Jesus when “plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony,” he asked his friends to keep watch. No courage needed here. He did not want them to defend him or do anything heroic. He merely asked them to wait, to stand and keep vigil with him. 
Peter had said, "I will be a hero for your sake." The Lord replied, "No, you won't, but could you love me enough to keep watch? What I must go through now will be brutal, and I need someone who cares enough to be there for me."
Jesus moved away from them to pray. When he returned and found them sleeping, he said, "Simon, are you asleep? Couldn't you stay awake for even an hour?" Twice again Jesus went away to pray, and twice again he returned to find his friends asleep. 
I don’t want to fall asleep while others find themselves “plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony.” 
So God reminds me—ever so gently—to live by what God has revealed, not on how or what I feel. It’s like pilots who fly into clouds in a plane. They follow their instruments even when it contradicts their clear sense perceptions of which direction to go. 
When we go through the darkness that comes with the storms of life, we must not go on feelings of despair but we should trust our gracious, wise God. We should stay vigil, praying, on alert, on our knees. We should show those who hurt the One, who comes in the storm. 
“Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; he got you out in the nick of time. He quieted the wind down to a whisper, put a muzzle on all the big waves. And you were so glad when the storm died down, and he led you safely back to harbor. So thank God for his marvelous love, for his miracle mercy to the children he loves” (Ps. 107:28–31, The Message)

Raquel Wroten (MAMC, Dallas Theological Seminary) was born in McAllen, Texas but has lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area most of her life. Raised by a single mother, Raquel grew up knowing the meaning of diversity, creativity, and chaos through her four brothers and three sisters. The greatest gift she ever received came from her mother who taught her that living as a believer doesn’t mean perfection, it means grace. Raquel met her husband Rick at a church retreat in Oklahoma on a cold November weekend. They dated for a year and got married in June 1992. A couple of years later, Rick graduated with his ThM, and they welcomed Joshua. . .then Abby. . .and surprise, it’s Anna! Intermixing their cultures, the Wrotens have established a variety of traditions along with interesting combinations of food. Raquel believes that ministry begins at home so she finds new ways of serving those she calls her own. Raquel serves as editor of DTS Magazine and enjoys writing (in English, Spanish and Spanglish), cooking, coffee, education and serving up a feast for her friends and family.