“Daddy, daddy, I remember this! I saw it on TV. It’s an evacuation!” said Matthew buckled in a child seat.
“I am scared of Hurricane Irene,” continued the frightened 8-year old.
Matthew’s family evacuated to move further inland as the catastrophic Hurricane Irene approached. The Category 3 storm with winds of 115 mph was the most formidable to hit the East Coast in seven years. I went with Matthew’s family on this journey, carrying a small ebony black bag and a water bottle.
After a quick prayer, our journey began.
We hurriedly sped past long stretches of trees still unaffected by Hurricane Irene. Down the busy highway and cheerless fields, the nebulous clouds turned dark and gloomy. My heartbeat nervously accelerated when the car suddenly shook and vibrated. Strong winds began to sweep our way.
We drove on relentlessly, stopping only for a quick lunch break. We arrived safely at the motel after what seemed to be the longest 4-hour drive of our lives. Heaving a sigh of relief, I was glad to be out of Irene’s path.
I turned on the television.
“Child dies after being pinned down by a fallen tree,” reported the 13 WVEC news headlines. Eleven-year old Zahir was tragically killed when a tree toppled by Hurricane Irene, fell through his apartment.
My heart slumped in sadness. Where is God in the midst of the storm? Is he still present? I peered out of the window from the second floor motel room and saw dark grey clouds. Powerful and howling winds shook the trees outside.
Suddenly, I heard a gentle whisper in the midst of the storm.
“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV 1984).
My heart was hushed into a quiet calmness, knowing that God is present even when I don’t realize it.
“My precious child, I am always with you in the powerful winds or in a quiet whisper. I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
The bellowing winds were reduced to a tranquil breeze as Hurricane Irene moved up north. The scene outside my window soon transformed into a serene and composed picture. I hear children laughing. Dogs barking.
“We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.” – A.W. Tozer
“Though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day” (Psalm 46:3-5, NIV).
He whispers, “My precious child, I am your Everlasting Father.”