Florence, Michael, and Trials of Many Kinds

I am sitting on my front porch, heavy sighing over yet another day of missed school due to inclement weather, and I’m attempting to remind my soul to be still.  We have barely shaken off the sadness and stress of Hurricane Florence, and I feel our community’s collective distress over even the whisper of more that could possibly come.   Michael, even in the form of a Tropical Storm,  feels daunting.  To say the least, the 2018-2019 school year has been interesting thus far, but aren’t they all?

My eldest son is a Senior in high school.  The child was born in 2000, when Y2K had us all wondering if our entire infrastructure was going to collapse.  I had barely weaned him when September 11th, 2001 shook our nation to its core, and we realized we weren’t as invulnerable as we had always imagined. In 2003, I snuggled my son along with his infant brother while I watched our country’s military crash into Iraq in the days of “Shock and Awe,” and my family had just moved to eastern North Carolina where my children began attending Gramercy Christian School when the war in Afghanistan came to our front door and did a number on our family.  Looking back, every school year has been troublesome in its own way.

We are told in James 1:2 to “consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”  And though I’m tempted to think, so what, maybe I don’t want to develop perseverance, we are told in verse 3 that perseverance is what makes us mature and complete, which is something I’m pretty sure I just need to be.  The original Greek word for “many” in this verse is the word poikilos and it means “motley, diverse in character.”  In fact, I once heard someone say the word reminds them of our word “polka dot,” and isn’t that how our trials sometimes feel?

Today, Gramercy Christian School is missing yet another day of instruction because of Tropical Storm Michael.  Florida has it much worse.  A month ago, we endured Hurricane Florence, and Haiti can’t seem to catch a break.   The bottom line is we are all facing trials of many kinds that vary in substance and severity, but we are not alone.  God has promised and God is faithful, which is why in the very midst of whatever we face, we need not fret.  We can be still in our very souls.

I awoke this morning to a beautiful day.  The sun was shining and the breeze was gentle.  My first thought was that we should not have cancelled school.  These are difficult choices based on changing forecasts, and we do the best we can.  Nonetheless, I feel the heaviness of that decision and my soul did not feel still.  Now as I write, the wind is blowing, the sky has darkened, and I have received two notifications of Tornado warnings in our area; and yet, my heart is quiet within me.  Strange how profoundly calming the truth can be.

I asked God on the edge of Hurricane Florence to help me remember… and perhaps that is just what He is doing.

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my fortress, I will not be shaken.”  Psalm 62: 5-6