Dead Calm

Sometimes there is a calm you instinctively know that something big is about to happen.  In nature, there are signs all around to ‘read’ the weather and other natural events such as earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, tornadoes and hurricanes.   Animals act strangely from vibrations and changes most of us can’t feel to warn of impending tremors.

The summer we got hit by Hurricane Charley, was a strange one.  That was my first introduction to a hurricane, and the month afterwards our state was crisscrossed by 3 other major storms which we got effects from each.  But when Charlie (the first of them) was on track for Tampa, I knew it was going to hit our area.  I kept telling people that we were going to get that.  A few days before it hit, I was driving out to the highway and was amazed at all the shore birds (we were about 45 minutes away from the coast) that were hunkered down in the thick stands of trees along the side.  The weather patterns too showed a cold front (unusual for that time of year- August) coming south, which could effect the steering path of the storm.  When I got home from town that same day, I noticed a stillness which wasn’t just from the hot, dog days.  There were no birds chirping. Not a one. Living in the boonies for so long you’d think birds singing would be background noise gotten used to. It was, but for the utter lack of it, that was louder than any Mocking bird song.

I knew.   Just as one from tornado alley can read the gathering cloud formations, sky color and calm before the storm, people can tell. Most of the time.  Other calms aren’t always so understandable or readable.

Years ago when I finished high school, I worked at a summer camp up north of my home in Canada.  The lake was known to natives as a lake of many winds, and time spent there, one was able to understand that.  Fierce summer storms were not unheard of- and while most people know of the “Tornado Alley” that runs up from Texas to Ohio, that part of central Ontario is also subject to tornadoes.  But one thing I experienced on that lake was what happens when all the wind dies down and you happen to be in a ‘dead calm’.

Not a breath or breeze, not a ripple, not anything but water as smooth as glass.  Being out on one, you realize just how still and motionless you are, and makes getting back to shore, or moving in any direction seem like an impossibility.

Calms like this can hit our lives in ways which leave us more confused, anxious and unsettled than some of the major storms we find ourselves in.

In the worst storms, we can find God moving- not always so in dead calms.  In the calm, one wonders if God is getting ready to do something big, or  has us there for rest, building faith or some purpose we’re not sure of. The calms can be a trying time- wondering if you’re meant to do something (restlessness) and you’re just not getting it, or if you’re mean to just be still and know He is working quietly.  Even knowing He is always working doesn’t necessarily bring peace to the calm though because you don’t have a clue of what direction if any you’re mean to go in, and when you pray about it, He’s silent.

Sometimes during the storm is when you know God is with you, and you’re so focused on doing what you know needs to be done- and you know there will be lots that has to be done afterwards.  In the times, especially after the worst storms, when you’re looking at destruction all around, there are still ways in which you see God working and it’s a comfort as you pick up what’s left and move on.  But then the calm… then what?

I want to share something my boss’s daughter posted a few weeks ago- because I have been thinking about this calm in my life for quite a while now and can completely understand what she’s saying,

It is so easy to get discouraged in seasons of waiting, especially if you’re not where you feel called or where you want to be, and you feel kinda stuck. But isn’t it encouraging to know that right now, God has you exactly where He wants you? Even if it’s not where You want to be, be encouraged that God has big plans for your life far beyond the little glimpse you can see now. The best is yet to come.

Even in the calm I know God is there, even if I can’t always hear Him.  I don’t know what if any plans He has for me He is working on, and yeah, I feel pretty stuck and it’s hard not knowing.

There was someone else who didn’t know either,  and he hightailed it to Mt. Horeb to hopefully find out.  Maybe he needed confirmation or just a rest, to hide out and regroup- even though he was in fear for his life.   Or maybe Elijah went there because that was where Moses saw God and he needed an encounter with the Lord in a way that Moses had.

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?  1 Kings 19:11-13

So the point that while we do see and experience God in the storms and earth shaking events, sometimes it’s in the quiet when we can actually hear Him… in His time and if we are listening.

His time, His will, His plans. I still don’t know what any of it is right now, and while I don’t doubt whatever it will be will be for the best, not knowing is kind of scary too, so I can understand Elijah’s fear in a way. Yet trying to understand a calm, it may be that this is where I am supposed to be, but I’m getting in my own way of doing whatever duty might be found in such a mundane, quiet, still kind of place.

Sometimes the storms have been so many, so fierce and always ear shattering battering… that it’s hard to hear in the stillness. Sometimes it’s the simple quiet that’s the most aggravating- because you’re used to doing. We might not understand, but having seen God though the hard things, we can be sure He is still there through the green pastures and still waters that He leads us to. And that is something we can find comfort in, if not understanding.

Have a blessed day everyone.