Two winters ago we experienced what locals now call "the big blowdown of '06" - a windy phenomenon that felled timber like matchsticks. The boys and I stood at our living room window (well, Paul had crawled under the rug) and watched as 4 huge cedar and alder trees fell in our front yard. The wind was clocked at 115 mph and for several hours we listened as the woods shuddered and heaved and gave up even more. It is an unnerving sound to hear even one full-grown evergreen fall - it does shake the ground! When they are falling all around all over it feels like an earthquake.
At the time I wouldn't have dreamed that this wind was a gift. Because the Master Logger decided to fell these trees, we sold two log truck loads of alder, cedar, and fir and were able to take our first family vacation. So last summer we boarded Amtrak in Seattle and traveled to Montana's Glacier National Park. The train pulled up right in front of the historic lodge and we nearly forgot to jump back on the next week! If you ever want a wonderful vacation, take the train to Montana. The dining car even serves grits!
That big storm and subsequent trip were a timely reminder to me of how the Lord sometimes works in my life. He shakes me up by sending a storm, or allowing one, in order to accomplish some greater good. It might hurt at the time and it might make a mess (we spent several days clearing our driveway of downed trees and debris and then Randy had to take his chainsaw and cut up lots of firewood and then he spent many days with chains and binders and heavy equipment hauling all these trees from the four corners of our property into large piles and then he had to call the lumber company and get the exact specs of each type tree that fell in order to cut them the right size and then he had to limb them/remove all the branches and hire a log truck to come load them and haul them, etc.). And this was all done after work! It took months. At this point we were not thinking of going to Montana and eating grits on a train.
But He was.
I once heard a pastor say that we are either going into a storm, in the middle of a storm, or coming out of a storm. Although I wish the world worked differently, it doesn't. But I'm learning that He promises not to leave us in the middle of the storm.
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for You are with me." (Psalm 23:4) The word through has a wonderful temporariness to it. The storm doesn't last forever. And His storms are bearable because He promises to be with us. And when they're over - or even in the midst of them -you'll be able to go on to greener pastures and still waters. Sounds like Montana to me.