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The Storm

by Jo-Anne Read
Patrick Read
 

Friday, September 6, 2014, started out like any other day. However, it ended much differently than it began.

On this particular day, a powerful storm would sweep through and change our lives. Although the weather reports never confirmed that it was a tornado, it is hard to believe that anything else could cause that kind of damage.

Our home is a 100-year-old farm house and is filled with many fond memories. It is where our children grew up and where we have lived for the last 30 years.

My husband and grandson left the house shortly after dinner to go for a walk. It had been a sunny day, but the clouds were beginning to roll in. On their way back home the winds began to pick up.

After arriving home my husband went up to his office to prepare for the upcoming Sabbath as my grandson and I sat downstairs in our living room. Moments later, my husband came hurrying downstairs and told me quietly (so that our grandson could not hear) that there was a tornado warning in effect.

Tornado watches or warnings are a fairly common occurrence in the rural community where we live. But, as my husband proceeded to close the downstairs living room and bedroom windows due to the extremely windy conditions, it became apparent that this was much more than just a “warning.” Many have described the sound of a tornado like that of an approaching locomotive. Now I know exactly what they mean!

I looked out of our living room window and watched the dirt on the side of the highway begin to swirl. At that moment my husband shouted to my grandson and me to take cover and get into the bathroom where there were no windows. It was too late now to go to the basement. Within a matter of 11 seconds, it was all over and a dead calm surrounded us.

While we were in the bathroom I prayed like I have never prayed before! I was very scared. Yet, I had to remain calm for my grandson’s sake.

Retrospect is a powerful thing and as I think back on that day, I realize more than I ever have before that God’s promise to protect us and never leave us is a sure one.

I have also had time to realize the spiritual implications of that physical storm. Matthew 7:24-27 began to take on a whole new meaning as it speaks of the carnage that can take place as a result of “the winds” blowing against the house.

Eleven seconds of “wind” put a huge branch from one of our older trees through the living room window shattering glass from one end of the house to the other, which took us two and half hours to clean up.

Eleven seconds of wind ripped two one-hundred-year-old trees right out of the ground by their roots. Shingles and part of the roof were raised and torn right off. We lost beautiful maple trees, a pine tree and a black walnut tree!

My husband had placed railway ties as steps going down into a kidney-shaped garden in the front of our home. The railway ties were ripped right out of the ground! Trees that were not completely destroyed had their tops sheared right off – in just a matter of 11 seconds!

The wind and the rain were like nothing I have ever seen or heard in my lifetime. The back half of a barn behind our home was flattened.

It was over and done leaving behind major damage. Surprisingly enough, the power had not gone out even though the top halves of two trees had fallen against the hydro pole. It was nothing short of a miracle that we were spared our lives and our home! I am so thankful to our Heavenly Father for the protection He gave us throughout the storm. We hung on to each other after everything settled and didn’t let go for a while.

Our house is not the same anymore. It has lost its character because of the damage and losing those trees. In the same way, when spiritual storms roll through our lives they, too, can leave much carnage behind and can change us forever.

The next morning neighbours from everywhere (some I had never met before) came with chainsaws and huge trucks to help clean up the mess. They brought food, hot coffee and donuts. What a tremendous blessing! Oh how the Great God of the Impossible takes such good care of His children.

To this day, the storm has left us weary, a little fatigued and fragile. We are slowly but surely getting back to normal again. My husband had worked hard on his gardens and landscaping. Seeing them damaged was very hard on him. Although the storm is now behind us, it was indeed a life-changing experience – one I will not forget for a long while.

James 4:14 warns us that our lives are “but a vapor” and in a moment they can be gone. Trees that had been standing strong and solid for over one-hundred years were no match for the winds that day, they were but a “vapor” that in a moment were gone.

Our lives are important to God. He cares deeply for us as His children and wants us to realize and remember that although things will take place in our lives (some that will forever change us); we must allow them to change us for the good.

So the next time the “winds blow,” stop and consider that we can take cover or comfort in the promises of God that He will protect all of us as He did my family on Friday, September 6, 2014.

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