We sat in bleachers watching my dad’s softball game at fields surrounded by corn fields on the west side of Slater, Iowa. It was hot and sticky with a subtle breeze that teased of rain. I was nine years old and to me baseball was boring, but it had gotten us out of the house and for that I was grateful. The game moved slowly as we watched the men — a toss of the ball, a snap of the bat, a jerk of the arm and a catch. It seemed to be the pattern.
The men had played several innings when suddenly, in unison, a look of panic appeared on their faces. There was a bit of hesitance and then they ran toward us, calling out names and instructions. Those of us in the bleachers had our backs to the corn fields and the storm brewing behind us. We had not seen what they had: the long arm that had reached down from the sky. A tornado. Fascinating and weirdly beautiful, it was the first I’d ever seen. My dad rushed us to the car and drove like Mario Andretti to our home in the next town over. The rain was hard and blinding, but we were fortunate the tornado stayed to the west of us.
This, however, was not true for another family from dad’s team. The twister chased them through the countryside to their home. Their family scrambled to find cover, and sat under the father’s basement workbench. When the winds settled, it was the only standing object left. The family was saved, but their house and all its contents were strewn for miles.
Last month, I stood in my pajamas ironing when the phone rang. It was my husband’s co-worker, telling me that my husband Pete had had a heart attack and was being transported to the hospital. A storm had been brewing, but I hadn’t seen it coming. I raced to the hospital to begin a week-long journey through procedures and a quadruple bypass operation. The storm had hit, but we had survived. He was still here. It was all that mattered. It was a miracle how it all played out, that the issues of his heart had been caught before it was too late.
Now, I sit here looking at what feels like debris around me. I’m trying to find what used to be our “normal.” It’s not all here. There are so many changes: nurses, rehab, medications, learning to cook in a whole new way! Questions rest on my head of what the future will bring. How should I prepare? I’m lucky (blessed!), but I’m afraid. I’m wandering out of my comfort zone into the unknown. I’m being forced to trust God. I love God but, truthfully, I struggle to let go and trust him. I would much rather draw up the plan and know exactly what lies ahead, plotting my own safety and security. But it doesn’t work that way. That’s not relying on God.
Have you found yourself in a place where you have to let go and trust God? It’s scary. These are the scriptures I am holding close to me; perhaps they will comfort you, too.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalms 91:2
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing.” Matthew 6:28