Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Psalm 107:28:30 (NIV)
I got caught on the wrong side of the bridge tonight. I went across Tampa Bay to visit with a friend. It was just getting dusk when I set out for home and as soon as I turned my car towards the east, I realized I was in trouble. The sky was very black, but not with the night sky. Instead, ugly massive thunderheads circled and swirled as they headed right for me. I tried to miss them and swung south towards the Skyway Bridge, but the line of storm clouds stretched from north to south as far as I could see and advanced quicker than I could drive. About the time I got to the north toll booth, it started to rain so hard I could not see in front of me. What to do? Many people pulled off to the side of the road and stopped, but I have been taught to slow down and keep driving. So, I turned the windshield wipers on high, switched the air conditioner to defrost, put both hands on the steering wheel and inched my way towards the bridge. Lightening crackled all around me, and I saw it hitting the water illuminating the roadway. The wind pushed my little truck from side to side. I could see what looked like a waterspout forming in the distance. I thought again about pulling over, but by then I was approaching the bridge and only the emergency lane gave room. I kept on going up and up high to the top of that bridge that is tall enough for cruise ships to get under. Then, at its peak, the sky cleared, and I entered an open space among the clouds. I could see over the storm in the direction of the island where I live. Below me, the storm continued to rage, but where I wanted to be not so far in the distance, it was clear. With the image of home before me, I took a deep breath and reentered the storm. I glided down the other side of the bridge towards safety. I have been blessed in my life with many friends who have come alongside me in the storms of life. The particular friend whose presence I had just left is one who helps me to see through the muddled messes around me. She provokes me towards change, not allowing me to be complacent. She is compassionate and kind, but will not let me to sit long in self pity. She applauds my successes, encourages me when I feel defeated and ignores my ugliness. Many times, God Himself speaks through my friend as He guides me into the woman He would have me to be. Tonight, I was grateful for the glimpse of home far above the raging storm. With my friend’s voice in my ear, as well as God’s in my heart, I get a similar image. Keep moving. It will be alright. Just breathe. Home is closer than you think.