today, i got to drive 40 miles through a good middle tennessee thunderstorm. i believe i may have actually chased the storm, it seemed that every time the storm let up a little bit, i would speed up my car and it would get bad again. if you’re from new york and you think you know what a thunderstorm is, i’m sorry to tell you that you are wrong. when you’ve seen lightning striking the trees next to the road you’re on, had golf ball sized hail bouncing off your windshield, and had it raining so hard that with the radio at full blast all you can hear is rain all in one five minute span, i will concede that you have survived a good thunderstorm. not a tornado yet, but a thunderstorm.
i have never been one of those people that, when life hands them lemons sit down and bow their heads, close their eyes, and bring it before the lord. in fact, if i’m being perfectly honest, it would probably take trapping me in a building of lemons to get me to bring anything before God without trying to juice all the lemons myself first.
when the storm first started today, i knew it could be bad. i started turning up the radio, got myself comfortable, reminded myself that i was in no rush to get home, and settled in to try to keep myself relaxed and reasonable for the ride. i was in control of the situation.
sometime around when the hail starting bouncing off (and threatening to bounce through) my windshield, i lost my cool. but instead of a quiet whisper prayer, i started in on God in the language of my heart: screaming (just ask my brothers). at the top of my lungs (it was really the only way i could hear myself) i shrieked at the maker of the universe “holy God, are you serious?! i am terrified and this is not helping!” i continued like that for approximately 2 minutes (during which i moved approximately 10 terrified feet in a 70 mph zone with all my new thunderstorm fearing friends on I-24)… and nothing changed. i could barely hear laura story’s “blessings” come on the christian radio station and as she sang softly about blessings coming through raindrops, i punched the radio off and yelled some more. i was afraid my car was going to start leaking, but was trying to be thankful that it was essentially being power washed and now i wouldn’t have to spend money on a car wash. trying to be thankful that this was rain and hail and not snow. at some point in this, i realized that i felt like jonah. God was sending something bigger than me to make me admit my wrong. God was sending something bigger than me to make me wake up.
after a moment’s pause, i got back to screaming. “i don’t know if i believe that you can stop this storm, but, Daddy, i want to believe it.” it came out before i knew that it was true. my faith is so small. i make God so small. he orchestrated every roll of thunder that is still echoing outside my window now. he placed every piece of hail and every drop of rain and he knew where i was in the middle of all of it, and that is true whether or not i believe it.
i continued screaming and maybe crying a little for a few more minutes. the storm didn’t stop: it’s still storming. but my fear did. i didn’t ask God to stop the storm, i asked him to make me believe that he controlled it. and right now, i do.
my faith is small, but it is growing. and i am warm and dry and safe and loved and learning.