The above picture was taken in 2014 in Louisville at the Parklands (Floyd's Fork). It was my favorite place to ride bikes with the boys. I was in great physical condition then, and they were just young teenage whipper snappers. I love this picture because it is taken from the rear. As one who is a leader, I let the boys lead a lot of the time. Not because they were faster, as I could definitely out peddle them. No, it was because I enjoyed watching over them and also drinking in their enjoyment of the ride as well. On this particular day, we had already passed a copperhead snake sunning itself on the concrete, and I yelled at the boys to stop for a photo op. I remember thinking to myself, hmmm....we are about 10 miles from the car, and it sure looks stormy up ahead. I cautiously asked the boys if they thought we should turn around, and they laughed at me and the storm. Needless to say we kept going, and the return ride was definitely adventurous in the pouring rain.
I say all of that to say that sometimes we are on this path of life, and the storms looks impending up ahead. I am not saying that we don't exercise wisdom in everything that we do, and instead tempt fate and stand in the middle of a lightning storm with a golf club held high. No, that is just stupidity. I am saying however, that you can't hide your whole life and be risk adverse to everything. THE STORMS ARE COMING IN YOUR LIFE!!! That is just a fact. We can't prevent life from happening with the ups and downs. Storms are inevitable. It is what we do in the storm that matters. Trials, tribulations, and testing's are as natural as frogs in a pond. The problem is that we are not taught or prepared in knowing what to do, and instead we panic.
What are some storms in your life? Divorce seems to be a biggie out there. Health issues. Financial problems. Anxiety and Stress (I would almost beg to differ that this is an after effect of a storm). The list goes on and on. You can insert whatever storm you want in this space. How and what do you do when the storm comes? Well lets back up a bit and do a little preventive work here first. It is absolutely unequivocally important that you are not naïve in this area of thinking that storms won't and don't effect you. They will and they are coming. Maybe you encountered some small ones in life up to this point and you allowed a little apathy and cockiness to creep in to your thinking that you can handle whatever life throws at you. BIG MISTAKE!
1) Don't be Naive. Understand that the storms are coming, and be prepared. Communicate with loved ones ahead of time about worst case scenarios and how to possibly handle things.
2) Be Preventative. I know that I said that they are coming and not to be naive, but there are some storms that you can prevent. Do all marriages have to end in divorce. Heck no. Infidelity is a surefire way to end a marriage, so communicate with your spouse and have safeguards in place. I am just using divorce as an example, but lets say it is health issues. Maybe if you are obese and drinking 64 ounces of Mountain Dew every day, and eating cheese burgers, you might be jonesing for a Type II Diabetes diagnosis, or heart isssue. Be Preventative, so maybe even if the storm does come, it doesn't wreck you.
3) Don't fear the storm. This is easier said than done. I am simply saying that you can encounter the storm with God's help, and not live in fear of the storm in your life. Do life together with others so you aren't shouldering that weight all by yourselves. We are big on saying that when the going gets tough, people tend to meld back into the woodwork and are nowhere to be found. Well, do what I had to do and seek them out. Ask them for help and be proactive.
4) Understand that there are just some storms that you can't apply the above 3 tips too. When my 21 year old son died in an auto accident on 12/23/20, there is nothing that could have prepared me for the ring of that doorbell the next morning on Christmas Eve by the Army Chaplain. I wasn't naïve that any of my kids could be taken from me, but lets face it, that is not something we dwell on. There was nothing preventative I could have done. However, I did fear the storm. I am not being hard on myself, as I think considering, I have and am weathering the storm of this tragedy the best I can considering the loss.
In closing, as I look at the above photograph, I am reminded that the storm was coming for all of us. I just didn't know when and how and who. I am stronger today as a result of the storm, as much as I would give everything to be weaker again. I have more self awareness of the devastating effects of storms on peoples lives, including mine. However, it does no good for me to fear this storm or any future storms, as I trust in God. Psalm 91:1 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Yes, I memorized the King James Version growing up. Verse 4 goes on to say "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust." That paints for me the picture of a mother duck sheltering and protecting her little ducklings under her wing during the midst of the storm. They didn't avoid the storm and fly around it, but rather they are stuck in the storm, but under the protection of the wings of the mother duck. If you are submitting your life to God, you don't need to fear the storm.