Job 37:9 – The stormy wind comes from its chamber, and the driving winds bring the cold. (NLT)
Drool splattered my cheek. A Bull Mastiff leaned over, wanting his bed back. I opened my eyes and remembered that we were two weeks into the 1998 ice storm, driven from our home, sharing a one-bedroom apartment with six large-breed canines and their owners. Fortunately, the guy with two Huskies went home at night.
Starting on January 4th, freezing rain fell for eighty straight hours in Kingston, Ontario, where I ran a small out-of-print bookshop, living over my business. It was the worst ice storm in living memory — thirty-one people perished. My boiler died and all the in-floor heating pipes froze and broke. It took nearly three months to get someone to put in a new furnace. To repair the damage, we had to remove all the shelving and get rid of most of the books, because there was nowhere to store them. In the meantime, our community credit union offered us their staff room to live in.
By the time we were back in our house and empty shop, we had experienced kindness from one end of town to the other — casseroles, hot soup, and muffins. The worse things got, the more people demonstrated kindness. They were a real lesson to me, taking the ice storm personally.
Acts 28:2 – The people of the island were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us. (NLT)
God, who does all things well, has plans for our lives, if we listen. At that time, over twenty years ago, my husband had ceased to be a believer. We were no longer in a church fellowship, and I had fallen into a lingering despair, from which there seemed to be no way out. The sunlight of the Spirit seemed to have stopped shining on me. But God, with an ice storm like a heavenly tow truck, yanked me out of that rut, back up onto His highway again. Shortly afterwards, a nearby church, which worked with the homeless, needed help, just as I had been helped by others. As I stepped forward, my husband followed, and the joy of that homecoming has never left me.
What does any great big horrible disaster in our life mean but an opportunity for us to actually experience the hand of God drawing us closer to Him? Always, no matter how awful, God is allowing what happens to teach us, wake us up, and cause us to become the true believers that we long to be.
That ice storm became the touchstone of my life — before and after. Gratitude for what happened, despite all the horror, is the hinge that swings open the gate of thankfulness upon which my daily life in God will forever depend.
Prayer: Dear loving heavenly Father, how grateful we are for disasters that strengthen our faith till our cups run over. Thank You for always leading us through the dark valleys to the green pastures that we may not be able to see at first, as You restore our souls. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Father We Thank Thee" (Lyrics)