It is once again, Monsoon season here in the Arizona desert, so I have decided to recycle the blog I wrote at this time last year. We have seen very little evidence of rainstorms or sand storms during these summer months, but to one degree or another we have all been in the “eye” of a storm for months now. Just remember that God is our refuge and strength, and a very present help in trouble.
Monsoon season is now underway in Arizona and the rest of the southwest. Arizona monsoons are typically experienced during summertime, July through September. At this time of the year there is a shift in wind direction bringing a different kind of weather. Temperatures rise, humidity increases, and winds are high. Thunderstorms move through the region bringing dust storms, periods of heavy desert rain and flash flooding.
If I understand correctly, storms develop when warm, moisture filled air rises. As the air rises, it cools and the moisture condenses falling back to earth in the form of rain—hopefully lots of it—or other forms of precipitation.
Storms can come out of nowhere in a hurry.
Many years ago, on a hot summer day, I was driving from Phoenix to Las Angeles through the Mojave Desert. The sun was shining brightly, the sky was cloudless, and the air conditioner was doing its job. The drive was a bit boring the barren landscape broken only by an occasional Joshua tree and countless wind turbines, but I was enjoying my brand new 1974 Oldsmobile sedan.
As I neared the Palm Springs area, I noticed that the sky ahead had darkened precipitously. All of a sudden I found myself in the middle of a storm. There was no avoiding it. A rainstorm I might have handled, but this was one of those notorious desert sand storms. Powerful winds had kicked up the desert sand forming a wall of dust, which blocked out the sun and lowered visibility almost to zero. I could barely see the road a few feet ahead.
This storm had appeared out of nowhere in an instant of time. What was I to do? The National Weather Service advice is to “seek shelter from dust storms in doors,” or “pull to the side of the road and turn off lights.” In the middle of the desert, there was no shelter to be had, so I pulled to the side of the road, my only alternative, and waited out the storm, while the swirling, pounding, abrasive sand blasted all the paint off the front end of my new car.
Dangerous storm conditions can appear suddenly and wreak havoc on everything in sight, and being observant isn’t always enough to avoid disaster.
However, I have discovered that storms do not only originate when the weather is hot, when humidity is high and winds are strong. Storms do not always have to do with the weather. Often, storms have to do with life itself.
We all suffer the storms of life. They originate with a doctor’s devastating diagnosis, a failed marriage, a troubled child, the death of a loved one, or financial disaster.
On a Saturday morning, I sent my healthy, laughing Cecil away to run errands, and in the emergency room, before nightfall, his impending death was pronounced—a sudden storm out of nowhere!
Darkness descended eclipsing the brightness, and the joy of our three and one-half months of marriage blasting away the beauty of years that were to follow.
Where do you go in that kind of storm? Do you just pull over to the side of life until it passes by? Where do you find shelter from such a disaster? How do you survive the unmitigated pain?
Unlike the Mojave Desert, where there was no shelter, I knew there was shelter in this storm. So I called on God. My prayer was one of desperation. Howling like a banshee I prayed the only words I could find, “Lord, I need you. Please help me, Lord, please help me.” Yet, in essence, I was praying King David’s prayer from Psalms 32:7 and 17:8. “You are my hiding place…Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me under the shadow of your wings.” God understood completely. He wrapped me in His great arms becoming my shelter for the weeks, months and even years to come—until the boisterous wind abated.
Perhaps this is Monsoon Season in your life. This storm was so unexpected, but now you are living in the middle of it. What do you do? Where do you go?
Psalms 46:1 tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
In Psalms 31:3 and 61:2-3, David cries, “For you are my rock and my fortress…Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me…”
Face it. You cannot weather this storm in your own strength. Run to God! Take refuge in the rock that is higher and stronger than you, the rock that is higher and stronger than a category 5 Hurricane with winds up to 157 miles per hour, a rock that is higher and stronger than anything that will ever come against you. Take shelter in Him. There is life after the storm!
Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!