I spent Saturday exploring Plymouth, Mass where the Pilgrims first explored this land. In the late afternoon, a storm blew in over the ocean. A fierce wall of slate gray clouds stretched like reaching hands over the face of the water bringing darkness and chill of cold air over everything it touched. I stood by the bay awestruck (and a little scared) by the clouds billowing and changing overhead. There’s no view quite like a storm at sea. You stand by and watch as in slow motion the storm reaches and stretches consuming every sliver of sunshine and blue sky in its path. Huge swaths of rain fall and wave like ribbons. I stand on the bay snapping pictures of the ever-changing sky until the winds blow hard and the drops begin to fall–then it’s a race back to the car before the torrents let loose and all the slate gray from above comes splashing down below.
Today I’m home caught again in the ruckus of a thunderstorm. The rain falls fast and hard as the gray clouds zip by overhead. But today I can’t see the storm–only the rain and the sound of thunder. There’s no panoramic view or way to gain perspective on all that rumbles above. I couldn’t see the storm coming and I don’t know when it will leave.
Isn’t life the same? If only I could stand on the bay and watch life stretch out before me. If only I could see the story beginning to end–dark though it may be and threatening, at least I would know. I would know when to stand in awe snapping pictures of the overwhelming beauty and when to run for cover from the heartache and hurt. But life doesn’t give us warning or panoramic views. Life doesn’t tell us when heartache is coming or when it will leave. We stand in the storm seeing and hearing only the rain and thunder–not the beauty and majesty of the clouds that bring our trouble. I think of the storm at sea, and try to remember that even trouble falls from beauty and brings beauty in its wake. The storm lasts for a season and at times we believe we will be consumed–but we won’t. There is brightness after the rain. Rainbows to bring light, color, and the hope of a promise.
God may come in storm clouds dark, fall on us in trials and pain–but there is beauty in the panorama of it all. If we could stand on the bay and see his plan–see his purpose stretch out in fierce beauty from beginning to end–then we would understand. Then we would be awestruck at his divine plan. We would stand in the falling rain, and though we may be afraid of the storm clouds and thunder overhead, we would see there is a beginning and an end–a purpose stretching with beauty and hope through all the dark clouds and rain drops that beat around us.
Though you stand in the thunderstorm and see no plan. Though your heart is broken and overwhelmed. Know, always know, there is beauty overhead. Know the rain falls from beauty and brings beauty in its wake. Know, always know, there is a plan.