The aftermath of storms are equally attractive to me. Living in Flagstaff it was the renewed smell of the Ponderosa Pine trees that always seems especially sweeter after a rain washes the dust off the needles. Here in the desert in a metropolitan area, I notice the clear air and a variety of desert scents that come alive when the dust and city smells are washed away. Driving back and forth to the church I get to drive through a variety of environments from the urban to open desert and it's in the aftermath of the storms that the desert comes alive. Grasses green up and grow tall while the small desert flowers once again carpet the shady, moist spots beneath the Palo Verde and even the creosote bush somehow smells right.
Maybe you're not like me and you don't see the good in storms, they just seem scary, dark , and disturbed. That's true, too, of course. Without the storms there would be no trees, grasses, or flowers. Without the storms, there would be no renewing of the environment. Yet, we are apprehensive about the storms in our own lives, aren't we? We fear them, avoid them, and generally try to ignore them.
I know that each time I've experienced a storm in my life that I've emerged from it a little stronger, perhaps renewed in commitments, and very often strengthened in faith. Granted, some storms do bring floods overwhelming our lives like last weeks floods overwhelmed the stream banks. In some places we've built home and business right in the flood plain erroneously thinking our created works are stronger than nature, and we are surprised and disappointed when they are destroyed. Likewise, we place or faith in things of man instead of the things of God and we're surprised when life's storms tear things apart in our personal life.
Are you in the midst of a "life storm" right now? Where do you draw strength from, what sustains you when the flood waters of discontent, and frustration surround you? Noah certainly knew a thing about being caught in a storm and the Psalm writer knew that one needed to take action in a storm; I would hurry to find a shelter for myself from the raging wind and tempest.” (Ps. 55:8) We naturally seek refuge in a storm but we don't always have the right refuge or a strong one to get into. Yet, we always have a refuge in the storms of life, but don't be mistaken, we don't escape the storm, we're just sheltered from it, protected from the destruction. In Psalm 107, God "caused the storm to be still so that the waves were hushed" and Jesus taught us to find our refuge in him.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!” (Matthew 7:24-27)
I'm not naive. Living through life's challenges is hard work and sometimes it seems there is no way out. But, I'm convinced that no matter the tempest, we can emerge renewed and refreshed like the mountain and the desert if we find refuge in our faith in God.