New York City - the city that never sleeps - totally shut down. Planes, trains, roads, bridges. Just like Superstorm Sandy a couple years ago. Except my wife and I were in the middle of that one. I'm really good at accepting speaking engagements at what turn out to be crazy times!
The weather folks got it right. They said Sandy was going to be horrendous. She was.
This time - well, they got it right for New England. New York City - not so much. Lots of New York grumbling the next day over the "two feet of snow, blizzard conditions" that turned out to be 4-8 inches, no blizzard. And lots of politicians, dancing to explain why they "overreacted."
I feel for weather people. And school officials and politicians who have to make judgment calls based on what the weather people predict. Storms are game-changers. And reminders of something we tend to forget.
God's God and I'm not.
That was so clear as I watched Sandy shut down Wall Street, Broadway, the U.N. and the plans of thousands of travelers. It didn't matter what anyone had planned. Didn't happen. The storm changed everything.
Because we're not in charge. As the Bible's been saying for centuries.
"The breath of God produces ice...He loads the clouds with moisture...At His direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever He commands them...He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth' and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.' He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth.' God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding...So that all men He has made may know His work, He stops every man from his labor" (Job 37).
"I am not in charge."
That's the message in all of life's storms. Meteorological. Marital. Medical. A wandering child...a broken dream...a broken heart.
God stops my forward momentum to turn my heart to Him. To show me I should not be driving my life. The wheel belongs to the One who gave me my life. Who's the only One who knows why I'm here. Who can take me where I was created to be.
When things happen that I can't control, I need to answer the wake-up call. I don't even control whether I take my next breath! But stubborn me. I have my hands gripped tightly on the wheel, trying to navigate the storm and clinging to the illusion that I'm in control.
For all of its upheaval, a storm is an opportunity. To wake up to one life-changing reality. "All things were created by Him and for Him," the Bible says. That's heaven's answer to life's most haunting question - "Why am I here?" I'm created to revolve my life around a personal love relationship with God. With the One who's driving the universe and driving my life.
And sometimes it takes something I can't possibly control to finally surrender control to Him.
I don't need to be afraid of what He'll do with my life. He's proven how much He loves me. As the Bible says, "Since He did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won't He also give us everything else?"
In other words, anyone who loves me enough to die for me will never do me wrong. He answered my lifetime of sinning against Him by sacrificing Himself to pay for it.
My storm is my wake-up call. And God's on the other end. Inviting me to come home to Him.