I woke up early Friday morning and turned on the television. The first image that appeared was a reporter standing in what appeared to be sunlight. The winds were calm. The bottom of the screen identified his location as somewhere in South Carolina. My first thought was that the storm must have passed, but then I heard him say that he was standing in the “eye” of the storm. Since I have often heard that being in the eye of a storm is a metaphor for our spiritual life in Christ—we can experience the peace that surpasses all understanding while a storm rages around us— I did some research. I wanted to know how well the metaphor actually works in my own life. The National Hurricane Center defines the eye as follows:
The roughly circular area of comparatively light winds that encompasses the center of a severe tropical cyclone. The eye is either completely or partially surrounded by the eyewall cloud.
Eyewall / Wall Cloud:
An organized band or ring of cumulonimbus clouds that surround the eye, or light-wind center of a tropical cyclone. Eyewall and wall cloud are used synonymously.
As a hurricane moves, the eyewall approaches. The most intense part of the hurricane with the highest wind speeds is the eyewall.
Another site I read said that the eye is the calm between two bad events—the worst, however, is to come.
As I thought about the eye of the hurricane, I realized that those experiencing the calm had to first experience part of the storm. This has been true with my own storms. God has allowed them for just that purpose—so that I would enter into His presence (the eye) by prayer and Scripture. The greatest peace I have experienced has always been when I have turned to Him during a storm. But I have to confess—once in the eye, it has often been difficult for me to remain at peace. While those in the eye of Florence might have enjoyed the moment of quiet, didn’t they also live with grave expectation that the hurricane was moving and the wall would inevitably approach them—the worst was yet to come? But what if they could have moved with the eye? I don’t know if it is even possible to move with an actual hurricane so as to remain in the eye, but certainly God has given us the means to do this in our spiritual storms. Anxiety and fear arise when we allow ourselves to depart from God, and we look at the outlying storm rather than at Him. Even when the worst of storms surround us, He provides refuge if we follow Him through prayer, His Word and then obedience.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2
Some of you probably saw the picture below that circulated on Facebook prior to Florence making landfall. The image reminded me that despite the sophistication of science and meteorology, no person can predict the weather with absolute certainty. While scientific advances in predicting weather patterns have grown over the decades, each natural disaster reminds me that our knowledge will always fall short. But there is One who does know all things. He is the only one I can be certain of. And He is the only One that can give me peace through any type of storm--He alone provides refuge. He is my eye in the storm.
Postscript: The storms we face are real, both physical and spiritual. The effects of Florence were devastating. I continue to pray for all those who lost family or property. As followers of the One who is certain, it is also my prayer that we will become His hands and feet, walking beside those who have suffered the effects of the storms.