Four tornadoes touched down on Sunday night in San Antonio, leaving first-hand experiences of freight trains screaming towards homes, rooftops flicked from their roost, and a four-mile swath of destruction left in their wake. We rarely have tornadoes touch down in the city limits, but we are no strangers to nature’s power and sometimes devastating aftermath.
On Father’s Day 2016, when our church caught fire, there was no way we could be prepared for the destruction nor could we anticipate the long road to recovery. Today as I pen this, we have just received permits to start reconstruction…nine months later. In between the storms of life and a new normal there are lessons to be learned and wisdom to be gleaned, as well as an opportunity to evaluate how you see the world and who you believe God to be.
After our fire, the community gathered in the parking lot and we praised God for His care and provision. In many respects, the hardest thing has become the best thing for our church. We are leaner (many left due to the inconvenience), but we are also closer and stronger. Knowing what you can do without is a powerful lesson. Knowing that God has a plan and is the power behind the plan is a faith-stretching exercise. Remembering why you do what you do and what is really important is priceless. If you lost your building, would your church thrive or be decimated? If you lost your home, would your family draw closer or be fragmented?
Hardship makes you stronger and more dependent upon Christ. Hardship reveals who your friends are. Hardship brings your core closer together. Hardship brings focus to what you are really all about by eliminating the excess. These storms that seem as though they are divine negligence—or worse, punishment—are great opportunities waiting to unfold. Every darkness has a dawn and every storm fades. In the in-between, the Voice that calms the storm can be heard: “Be still.”