“Isn’t it nice we’re having weather?” one of our friends regularly quips, in an unexpected twist of phrase.
We’ve had a bit of twisty weather in my part of Saskatchewan lately. At work the other day, I kept one ear to the Weather Network as forecasters issued warnings of severe fronts approaching. Just one weekend earlier, a tornado had done considerable damage in Rhein, a community just a few miles from ours. Was it our turn now?
On the radar maps, colourful storm bands scurried closer. Heavy rain pelted my office windows and the large tree across the road swept the sky in agitation.
“The voice of the Lord strips the oaks,” the Psalmist wrote. Every time I watch or hear about severe weather I think of that verse and remember, with awe, that God is not only the creator of peace, order and apparent perfection; he is (despite our petulant protests of “unfair”) also the author of chaos and calamity as he deems it necessary for his larger purposes.
I’m far too small and simple to fathom God’s reasoning for allowing natural disasters to destroy and devastate places and people. But I know that like any good dad, our Heavenly Father invites conversation. All afternoon, rain pelted the streets visible from my windows. All afternoon, the forecasters continued their predictions. And all afternoon, I prayed. “Lord of storms, please protect all souls under this system.”
Perhaps it was the cooled air, or maybe the dimming daylight that made me decide, upon arriving home, to make soup. But midway through sautéing onions and garlic, the rain accelerated. Fell so hard and fast that a swift-running river about three feet wide appeared from nowhere in the slight shallow across our front yard. Thunder rolled. The sky blackened so deeply I couldn’t see the cars in our driveway.
“This is about as bad as it gets, folks,” the local radio announcer said, announcing a tornado warning for our immediate area. “Get into your basements or somewhere safe.”
I phoned one street over. Told our children to gather the grandbeans and play downstairs. I took our unwilling parrot downstairs. The Preacher had already gone downstairs. But I went back upstairs to finish my squash soup.
They say a tornado roars, like a truck bearing down. When I hear that, I thought, I’ll scoot down to the basement.
The roar never came. An hour later, the thunder stopped, the western sky began to clear and the rain slowed to a drizzle. Outside, the river puddled into a shrinking pond. Inside, I sampled my soup and pronounced it good.
On Facebook later, a friend who lives one short mile from us posted photos of one of their grain silos — twisted like a dishrag, ¾ mile from where it had been the evening before. But all souls, it seems, remained safe.
Along with many of my readers, I pray, “Thanks, Lord, for that protection, and for the reminder of your awesome power.”