Aside from cats and heights, the only other thing I’m afraid of is thunderstorms. If I’m at home when it happens I’m usually okay, as long as I’m not near the windows. But my fear really kicks in when I’m driving during a storm.
During my recent trip to Savannah I was forced to deal with my fear head on. The majority of the trip it was scorching hot, but as I got within 70 miles of my destination, I encountered an unexpected thunderstorm. When I realized it was going to be more than a light shower, I became anxious. As I noticed big rigs and other travelers turning on their hazard lights and pulling over to the side of the road, I became increasingly more anxious. After all, if an 18 wheeler needs to pull over, it’s not good.
There were two things that pushed me into full panic mode: I was more than an hour from reaching my destination, and I had no idea of what was ahead of me. I didn’t know if the weather would continue to get worse, and I wasn’t sure if it would continue for the remainder of my trip. Typically, I’m the kind of person who can handle an uncomfortable situation if I know how long it’s going to last. If I’m in a tough workout I can handle it once I get in my mind that it’s only temporary. So, I decided to call a friend to see if they could go online to check the weather for Savannah and give me an idea of what was up ahead. Unfortunately, I couldn’t reach them and that’s when I went into a full on panic attack. My heart began to race and my eyes filled up with tears because in my mind I was driving into the eye of a tornado and I was terrified. What can I say? I’m that girl who goes to the worst case scenario when I’m afraid. For a moment, I pulled over to the side of the road, started praying, and just sat there for a minute so I could regroup. My fear wanted me to stay put, but my instincts said, “keep moving” – something inside of me kept telling me to just ride it out. Despite the fact that there were more and more cars pulling over to the shoulder of the road, I decided to get back on the road and forge ahead. Within minutes, the storm began to subside. In actuality, the storm only lasted for about 10 miles of my trip. It was then that God gave me a revelation about that situation.
How many times have we encountered personal storms – trials and tribulations- that really threaten to take us out! When we’re in it, we don’t see how we’re going to get through it and we panic. When we’re going through we have no idea of how long it’s going to last, so we panic and often times we want to pull over to the side of this road of life (take a break from the journey). Yes, it’s natural to want to stop and wait for the storm to pass, but that’s usually not what God would have us to do. He may require us to change our course –slow down a little bit –but He still requires us to push through. He knows that it’s only a little further ahead that our storm will be over. But since we can’t see it, we stop trusting and we get stuck.
If I only knew I had to endure that storm for only 10 miles, I NEVER would’ve panicked. In fact, after it was all said and done, I felt silly for having over reacted. Here’s the other thing, I kept thinking of those cars that pulled over to the side of the road. They were in the eye of the storm and only God knows how long the rain lasted within that 10 mile stretch. Anybody raised in Georgia knows how it can be pouring down rain in one part of the city and sunny two blocks over. I wondered how long they were delayed.
God taught me a very valuable lesson through that driving experience. We all encounter storms of life, but you can’t give up. You have no idea how close you are to getting pass the storm. If you stop and give up during the storm, you are prolonging the time that you’re in it. Keep pushing through because it will be over before you know it, and the sun is on the other side of that storm. The remainder of my trip the weather was sunny and clear.