Tornadoes and floods and volcanic eruptions have been called acts of God since ancient times. The God of the Bible sends a flood and thunders down from a mountain. But He also speaks to His prophet Elijah in a still, small voice and through Jesus as he calms an unpredictable storm on the Galilean Sea. And He has always offered hope and salvation to His people.
Our perception of God has changed through the years, as we've looked less fearfully to Him for daily direction, and for comfort and peace of mind. But God is as powerful as ever, and can enter our whirlwind life with His Powerful Presence, both by shaking us up and disrupting our complacency, or by calming the seas in the midst of a stormy life saying, "Peace! Be still!"
Yet sometimes we are caught up in a whirlwind and the seas of life are welling up around us, and it seems like confusion and disorder are all around. And we don't feel that peace.
Destructive forces compete for power in our world with constructive ones. And the battle may even rage within us. We may feel like kicking up a dust cloud and fleeing from the turmoil -- or perhaps even kicking up a little storm of our own in the wake! In fact, more than once I have heard someone talk of feeling like a tornado in the midst of havoc. And I can only guess that their life is not filled with peace.
I lived in Wisconsin along the storm route called "Tornado Alley". And there were many times as a child or adult that I headed to the basement in response to a tornado warning. What could we do but wait and pray? After all, you can't reason with a tornado. You can only try to get out of its way.
But how can we escape the turmoil within us? Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes -- just like our problems. And like the storms that may be brewing in our own lives, we can't always see them coming or predict what their wide-spread consequences might be.
But nothing in life is too big or small, or so encompassing that God cannot bring some peace and hope into it. As Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:27).
Maybe those words above seem trivial in the midst of life's storms. But we live in a world that is more than the destructive situations and ways that we hear so much about in the media.
God is present in the ordinary, everyday people and things around us, in blessings that come our way, and in happy coincidence that some call serendipity. It's why I write my little spiritual nuggets ... that you might recognize this in your lives.
God is present in the midst of the storm, to show us the way and to see us through. He is present in sunshine and in shadow, in the whirlwind and in the gentle breeze.