Originally published Tuesday, 28 May 2013.
We were on our way from Cape Town to Johannesburg, a sixteen-hour drive. As we crossed the border into a new province upcountry, my husband rolled down the window and took in a deep breath.
“Ah, can you smell it?” he exhaled with deep satisfaction. “The air is different here. And it’s going to rain – I can tell.”
Sure enough, we soon saw dark clouds moving in our direction. We pulled into a rest stop to satiate our hunger, and after looking at the fast food menu, I lifted my head and caught a glimpse through the wall of windows into the parking lot.
The weather was changing, and fast. Flags were whipping uncontrollably in the air, the umbrellas on the outdoor tables were flailing around, and people were running inside, holding onto hats, hair and jackets.
I took one look at my husband, and asked for the car keys. I ran to the car, barely able to move in a straight line, the wind was so strong. Already I could feel drops of rain landing on me.
I grabbed a jacket for each of us, locked the car, and ran back to the restaurant, just in the nick of time.
Others who had been eating inside, saw the weather and started to panic. They quickly paid their bills and rushed out the door, making a beeline for their vehicles.
“Should we try to beat it?” I asked my husband with a hint of apprehension in my voice.
“Nah, just relax. The kids are happy, let’s let them play a little longer.”
I agreed, but inside I was not looking forward to riding shotgun while he navigated through torrents of rain on a two-lane highway.
We stayed at the table for another half an hour, while other customers sprinted in and out, drenched with rain through and through.
The next thing I knew, I looked out the window and the sky was clearing! I couldn’t believe it. Not even an hour had passed, and in my experience, a storm as nasty as that was never brief.
But my husband was a seasoned veteran in those parts. He was familiar with the weather patterns, and if he were a gambling man, could’ve put money on the duration of the storm.
Unlike the rest of us in the establishment, who were in a state of mild frenzy, he remained calm and sat peacefully in the shelter of the walls and roof that surrounded him.
Reflecting back on the afternoon, it occurred to me how similar this incident was to the storms of life that come our way. Some of us immediately panic and flail around trying to run away from the storm. Others, perhaps more familiar with the nature of hardship, are more likely to rest in a secure shelter with a firm foundation and wait for the storm to pass.
“You have been a refuge for the poor,
a refuge for the needy in their distress,
a shelter from the storm
and a shade from the heat.”
“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone,
but the righteous stand firm forever.”