[I began writing this last night not knowing whether or not I would even post it. But here it is - honest but unedited!]
It started out as a nightmare but ended with praise.
Tonight was yet another unforgettable evening as God, in His gracious providence, reminded us of His sovereignty and power. As we were leaving church tonight, a church member informed everyone about the possibility of a tornado being in the Louisville area. And as I have said before, yes, we do love our church family, but I couldn't have agreed more with my husband as he shared that a church building as old as ours may not be the most ideal place to be when a tornado lurks around the corner.
So we headed out, gazing at the eery, low-lying clouds that hovered over what looked like miles. And anyone who knows Paul knows that he... well... he's a recycler who has been known to get cardboard out of the church trash to take to a recycling bin nearby. So on our way home tonight we made pit-stop to drop off a car load of boxes, and then we continued on our drive home. As we entered onto the interstate, we kept an eye on some suspicious clouds that provoked concern in both of us! The car ride silent, I knew that Paul was not taking the swirling clouds lightly. We continued along interstate 65 and passed the University of Louisville area, and the cloud that initially drew our suspicion began to form splotches that dwindled down towards the ground, and the tension in the car felt suffocating. This cloud to our left and no darkness immediately above our car, I felt somewhat comforted...
Until terrential rain pounded on our car out of nowhere, and strong wind accompanied this random rain. I thought to myself, "At least things aren't swirling around... LORD, please get us home safely!" But then as my focused husband kept his eyes on the road and his lips shut, black debris started flying all across and around our car and the rest of those who were on the interstate. Simultaneously, we saw red brake lights from all of the other cars who were experiencing the same debris, and it was as if all of us were thinking the same thing- "wrong place, wrong time." Instead of braking, Paul hurried us up the interstate, hoping to escape this storm as quickly as possible. By the time we realized that we were out of the worst of it, Paul and I felt relieved, though I hoped that my tearful anxiety wouldn't cause early labor at 32 weeks today!
And by God's inestimable grace, we managed to escape the storm and arrive to our temporary haven of a home. I don't think it was until about 11:00 p.m. tonight that the adrenaline rush truly diminished, and it was then that a verse that I've been reading recently came to mind:
"Therefore, preparing your minds for action and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:13- emphasis mine)
Every human knows what it's like to be scared. We all experience the misery of fear from one degree to another. And I don't know that I've ever before experienced the type of fear I did tonight in those few moments of silent terror and complete awareness of man's powerlessness against God's creation. Though Paul was right as he comforted me by the reminder that, "When it's our time to go, it will be our time to go!", the human instinct of self-protection in moments such as tonight amazes me. Because when threatening situations arise that seem to come from out of nowhere, we tend to do exactly what my husband did tonight: escape the situation as best as possible. In the moment, we don't like tangible reminders like tornadic activity to remind us of how unreliable and incapable we really are, and we want to get out of them. Yet what encouragement a verse like 1 Peter 1:13 is to me! Those of us who know and love Christ will receive grace at His revelation one day. With Him, we will never again experience that type of fear. We won't think those stomach-wrenching thoughts such as "What if this situation causes me, my husband, or my baby to die?" Fears will cease. Insecurities will fade away. Anxiety will be a part of the past. And the incomprehensible glory and joy of being with Christ will be in the present and in the eternal future.
No, we weren't at the wrong place at the wrong time. Thank you, Lord, for setting my hope back on the grace that lies ahead!