Last August was the first hurricane I ever experienced. For days we watched news reports on the encroaching storm. Fear started to take hold a bit as worst case scenarios surfaced. Thankfully Hurricane Irene never lived up to the apocalyptic headlines it was making, but it was a severe storm nonetheless.
We went back and forth several times about whether we should evacuate. Erring on the side of caution, since we really didn’t know what to expect, we packed up our bags . We headed out of town with some friends to their mom’s house in Richmond. Being a rookie from Michigan I didn’t fully appreciate that a hurricane racing up the East Coast was going to cover most of Virginia, therefore our 2 hour exodus northwest really didn’t make much difference. In fact the storm hit us harder in Richmond than if we would have stayed home. It’s amazing what you learn by experience.
When the storm finally made its appearance in Virginia it showed its ugly face for a straight 24 hours. The rains were heavy and the winds blew at 40 miles an hour constantly with gusts over 80 miles an hour. The howling winds that day were unforgettable. Giant trees twisted and moaned bending in ways you knew something that big shouldn’t move. It was an uncomfortable sight to behold to say the least.
The storm started the first night we were there. At first it was mild and then quickly became quite intense. All through the day it raged on. The second night of the storm we lost power early in the evening. With no electricity we only sat in the dark a short time before we all figured the best thing to do was go to bed.
My wife and I climbed into bed and talked for a while. It didn’t take too long and she was asleep. For some reason that night I felt a strong protective instinct and couldn’t sleep. I somehow thought that if the roof blew off or a tree fell through that I would be able to fall on top of my wife and shield her from the debris. Although I knew I may not be able to provide much physical safety it was a strong desire of mine to protect my family. As I lay there running these scenarios through my head the wind was still whipping and the trees were crying for mercy. The rain still pounded against the window.
Since I wasn’t sleeping I decided to quietly slip out of bed, I sat on the floor and began to pray. I didn’t know what else I was going to do. I wasn’t particularly frightened anymore but I still felt uncomfortable. As I prayed I felt the Lord quiet me. I just sat there and listened. Despite the storm raging outside of my window I heard a faint but familiar sound. I climbed to my feet and walked closer to the bedroom window. I peered outside of the glass between the leaves plastered to the window and listened some more. The sound grew a little louder. It was cricket. The more I listened the more I heard from his little friends too. Outside my window in the midst of a hurricane I was listening to a choir of crickets.
At that moment I realized the Lord was teaching me something. Outside there was a storm. A real one. The sky was grim and the landscape looked desperate. But even though the conditions around me changed something remained constant. It was through that small chirping cricket that God reminded me of his peace. God’s peace passes all understanding. It defies all circumstances. It contradicts all negative reports. And while I was focusing on the storm as my new reality, the truth was, and still is, that his peace always remains. That chirping cricket was a reminder that in the middle of a storm his peace can still be found, you just need to quiet yourself and listen.
Chances are if I had been listening for them I could have heard the crickets all night but instead my attention was on the bending trees and the pouring rain. Maybe in your life you feel like you’re in the middle of an unfamiliar storm and you’re watching the chaos swirl around you. It’s noisy. It’s ugly. It’s frightening. And even though the storm is real the Lord wants to remind you that his peace has never departed. He doesn’t fear the storm. In fact the Bible tells us of one such time when Jesus was out to sea with his disciples and a terrible storm erupted. They all thought this was it. They were going to die. They searched for Jesus in their despair and found that he was asleep. He wasn’t afraid. He woke up, rebuked the storm, and it ceased. He asked why they were so fearful. Where was their faith?
Despite the storm outside the crickets haven’t stopped singing. Their song goes on as a reminder that God hasn’t left. He is there. He is present. He is your help. He is your peace. Take your eyes off the storm because seasons and weather are ever changing, but God is constant. His peace is forever.
Listen for your crickets. Somewhere God is showing you he’s never left and never will.