It was not the plan. As the darkened sky lit up across the dashboard, rain pelted the windshield and our dire situation sank in. In the midst of a mammoth storm sweeping across the country, we hunkered down, prayed, and forged on. The good news was that there wasn’t a lot of traffic. There’s always a silver lining.
I was headed south to Florida with “sister” Kandice at the wheel, navigating masterfully through the storm. As co-pilot, hospitality was my role, supporting the driver with all the necessities – chocolate, drinks, an extra pair of eyes, and music to distract from the ominous weather. Before embarking on the two-day trip, we were aware of the storm and planned to get ahead of it. But there was a delay. Clarification (with confession): I delayed us. My friends call it “Julie-ing around,” as I check the house before leaving on vacation. This was an extended trip away so double-checking was in order, resulting in leaving an hour later than we had expected. When we finally pulled out and checked the grim radar, we convinced ourselves that all would be OK as the soft drizzle began. And it was for a while – until we ended up in the midst of it, that is.
In the midst of the storm is a perfect description. Somehow we ended up in the middle of it – straddling the bright red/orange danger zones – for most of the 12-hour journey. It is nearly impossible to explain, but the picture clearly tells the story. Another interesting sidenote is that a week before leaving, we had changed our plan and instead took the route south through Savannah – for the first time. If our usual route through Atlanta had been our course, the storm would have been impossible to overcome. Later the news reported several tornadoes in that area.
While there were certainly a few tense, white-knuckle moments, they seemed to pass quickly and often with amusement. One slightly unnerving episode ended in spontaneous roars of
laugher when the song “Build a Boat” came on just as the drive turned precarious and a tornado warning abruptly interrupted the music. The words by Colton Dixon arrived in perfect timing when the public service announcement ended, “I’ll ride the storm ‘cuz I got you by my side with your wind in my sails, your love never fails or fades. I’ll build a boat so let it rain.”
No boat was needed for that stormy ride, and we eventually made it to Savannah – in time for a late dinner and with a free, open parking spot awaiting us on the street directly in front of our hotel. Later as we reminisced about the day, it was glaringly obvious that we somehow escaped the worst of the dangerous weather. Without a doubt, God was protecting us every mile of the journey.
The storms of life will come and go, but God is there building a boat and riding the waves with us. He never leaves us when our situations seem impossible to navigate. He’s right there in the midst of it all.
He IS with us through the storms.
Take a close look at the radio screen.
Coincidence? I think not!