Yesterday, I was driving home from a work trip in a little town in South Texas. It was only a two hour drive and I had planned to spend those kid free hours listening to my Harry Potter audiobook for the umpteenth time and letting my brain zone out blissfully, because I’m an Enneagram 9 and that’s what we do best. Especially after an emotionally charged day of Suicide Prevention training.
As I started driving out of the town and I turned onto the farm road that took me through fields of cattle and hay bails, I turned off The Goblet of Fire and just gazed out the window thinking about the sereneness of the scenery before me. I’m a city girl from California who has lived in Texas for about five years, but is still fascinated with the countryside. As I was looking out the window, trying to take pictures without looking at my phone, I noticed the storm clouds on the horizon. I could see lightning flashing in the dark section that started to fill the right half of my windshield and marveled at the contrast between the clear, bright blue sky to the left and the dark, looming sky to the right.
By this time, I had turned my music on instead of my book and was listening to Phil Wickham sing soothingly, “the brightness of your glory has arrived,” as I drove knowingly, head-first into the storm that had now taken over the sky in front of me. The rain poured down during, “a deep deep flood, an ocean flows from you – a deep deep love, yea it’s filling up the room,” and I couldn’t help but smile as I sensed something stirring within me.
The road got hard to see before me. Windshield wipers frantically beating the rain back just enough that I could see a few feet of road. Rain pounded loudly, making it hard to hear the music.
Usually, I get nervous driving in this kind of rain. This kind of rain that forms fast puddles on the road. This kind of rain that brings loud thunder and flashes of lightning somewhere close by. This kind of rain that makes going forward difficult. This kind of rain that obscures the road ahead.
This dark kind of rain.
But not yesterday.
Yesterday, I felt peace.
I felt joy.
I felt love and reassurance.
I felt the lyrics of the song being played for my soul to sing along.
“The fullness of your grace is here with me.”
My soul felt it there in that rain. My mind felt it there in that darkness.
I drove through that storm in peace and awe of His creation.
I drove through that storm knowing that no matter how long it lasted, His presence was all I needed.
I drove through that storm and after about fifteen minutes, the rain began to lessen and stop.
The road before me was suddenly dry again and the sky was clear and blue.
I’d literally driven through the storm from one end to the other.
The contrast in the sky was once again stark.
To my left and behind me, the sky was dark and tumultuous while the way ahead was clear and bright. I kept trying to crane my neck to take in the sight through the rearview mirror, and the occasional look behind, out the back windows because my San Diegan native eyes couldn’t get enough of the weather torn stratosphere.
My music at this point had progressed to another Phil song, a favorite of mine, that just reinforced my feeling that maybe God was trying to tell me something.
Or maybe….show me something.
The song playing now was saying, “I look up to the sky and say, you’re beautiful.” Which is, of course, where my eyes had been drawn this whole drive; before, during, and now, after the storm. I kept telling myself to just pull over for a minute to take a picture of the contrast I couldn’t stop trying to view, and I kept not doing it. Finally, I saw a little ranch driveway and I pulled off onto it. I stuck my head out the window and when I turned back to look at the sky, my insides jumped a little.
I was expecting beauty and vastness.
I was expecting dark clouds bruising the bright crisp face of the heavens.
I was expecting the contrast of the storm and the clear.
But I wasn’t expecting the bright colorful rainbow shining in the middle of that juxtaposition.
I wasn’t expecting such a visible reminder of God’s promise.
And when I saw it, that feeling of peace and of joy and of love and of reassurance I felt during the storm intensified.
I don’t have these moments often. I don’t have the, “I feel God” experiences daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. I have faith in, and knowledge of, our God and His great love, but the “feeling” that people talk about, not much.
Yesterday, on that country road, I did. The song sang, “The richness of, your beauty’s all I see” -and it was. As I looked back at that rainbow, and at the sky, so evident of His beauty and might, I felt Him there with me. I took some pictures, grinning to myself on the side of that poorly paved road in the middle of south Texas, and pulled back onto the deserted lane headed home. And since I don’t have these feelings often, when I had a sudden thought pop into my head of, “That rainbow was for me,” I laughed at my ego-centricism. But when I looked back in the rearview mirror, that bright rainbow I saw just a few minutes before was already faded, barely visible.
I’m sure there is some scientific explanation that includes angles and light prisms to explain my brief view, but I think it was what I needed just then. And I think maybe God knew that and used His creation of science paired with his physical, earthly creation of the sky to show me something.
Maybe to remind me that, in the midst of the darkness of this world;
In the midst of all the pain and suffering;
in the midst of the hurt and brokenness – that I see in my friends, that I see in my community, that I see in the world.
In the midst of all that storminess, He is here.
I think that maybe He knew I needed that reminder as I drove home from another suicide prevention workshop held during suicide prevention month, a day after 9-11, during a week full of hurting friends and sadness on the TV.
I think He knew that this logical, sometimes cynical, girl needed to literally drive through a storm, turn around to face the darkness, and see His promise shining brightly back at her in the storm thrashed sky.
I think He knew.
And I’m grateful.
I’m grateful because sometimes the road gets hard to see in front of you.
And the rain beats down so It’s hard to hear the hope singing to you from the speakers in your life.
And the darkness surrounds you.
But I was reminded today that He is there in the darkness.
His promise remains in the darkness, even if we can’t see it.
Not that storms won’t come – because they will.
Not that the road will always be clear – because it won’t be.
Not that the rain will stop, because it may not.
But His promise remains.
His promise that He is still there in the storm.
He is still there in the darkness.
He is still here.
He is here with me.
He is here with you.
He is here with us.
He is here.
He is here.
He is here.
Hallelujah, He is here.