We had no way of knowing that the storms were coming. It was the ‘80s, and there was no such thing as “weather-radar apps” or iPhones.
My oldest sister and I were in a remote area of Canada, on a fishing trip with Dad. When we set out on the water that morning, the skies were a cloudless blue.
By mid-afternoon, the sky swiftly drained itself of all the blue. Then, the sky turned from silver to a corroding gray. Clouds piled up, out of nowhere, and built themselves into a giant wall.
Lightning bolts, like white fire, fell everywhere. Rain came in sudden, heavy sheets.
Powerless, we looked to our Dad for cues on what to do.
We were miles from camp, in the middle of a lake. Dad quickly but calmly told us to reel in as fast as we could. Even as we reeled, Dad tore a path toward the shore of an island. While he tied the boat to a tree, he yelled over his shoulder, commanding us to crouch down by the rocks, far from the tall stand of pines that might attract lightning.
Rain pelted us. I hid my head between my knees, while my breath came out in short, hot spurts.
I didn’t dare look up. That sky seemed to sense my fear, and tried to burrow its own brand of fright straight into my middle. I looked only at the feet of my father, who crouched beside me as the rain kept falling. I stared at his feet until the clouds were all wrung out. I stared at his feet until the sun came out again.
Even as the storm raged on around us, my father was my peace.
I still remember that afternoon vividly, whenever life’s punishing storms appear like the color of coal, as a bandit to steal the light from my life. I remember that moment, because I remember where I found my peace: in the reassuring presence of my dad.
Older now, I know that my earthly father can’t be my ultimate peace — even though it was sufficient for a child, on a rain-battered shore. But that moment has become a powerful metaphor for a biblical truth that all of us need today, when the clouds threaten.
That truth is this:
Peace is not the absence of storms. Peace is the presence of God.
Friend, behold your Father, in the storm. He is racing you toward shore, and sitting with you, in the rain. He is your peace, when the sky is falling.