The Darkening Storm

We never saw it coming. 

Sitting down for our first patio dining at the waterfront in Goderich on a magnificent late October day (last Friday), I (Linda) thought I’d enjoy a quiet cup of tea.  But our waiter skittishly murmured he’d only serve us for the next ten minutes.  The manager came out and started stacking chairs and warning table groups of an impending tornado.[1] Suddenly, the dark blue shelf clouds over the bay looked far more ominous than before.  

Like so much of life at this time – we thought the darkness fascinating, and yet didn’t see a tornado coming.  In this COVID season, we may see resulting storms brewing around us–in the lives of our families and children.

We’ve been recently hit by things we didn’t see coming.  We are now teaching all our courses online, not in class.  Rick’s mom has been in and out of the hospital over the past week, and her results are not fully clear.  In your life, financial troubles, martial stress, children’s challenges, or insufficient personal care were likely not what you saw coming.  Many churches and musicians planned their futures but scattering resulted from the darkening clouds.   

Many of us still dream of everything returning to normal.  But what if it doesn’t?  We hope we are “turning the corner” on the virus through a vaccine or a God-ordained relief, but what of the resulting casualties from this storm:  family friction, relational distance, financial problems? What then?

After being warned of a possible tornado, we did some “storm running” as we quickly left Goderich. As we drove home, we considered where we’d hide if the worst were directly upon us. 

In this present pandemic storm, I’m finding shelter in the place it’s always been – God’s presence, most often found in His Word, with words already penned to describe the loss, change, and instability of this storm.  Our emotions are already spoken in the Psalms! 

Since repentance means “turning around,” I’m accepting that life isn’t always having tea by the seaside – it often requires forgoing my comfort to acknowledge His reality.  And in this place, I can be still and know it can be well with my soul – even when all is not well.

There’s another lesson we can take from the gathering storm along Lake Huron.  We been warned in God’s Word that an eternal storm of judgment is headed towards our world.  We also know salvation is offered to all who take refuge in Christ through repentant faith in His death and resurrection. 

Most people around us don’t see the storm coming.  They are still sitting out on their decks, sipping tea.  Which of the two restaurant workers will we be like–the retreating waiter or the manager who warned others?

There’s never been a better time for warning, for repentance, and for finding shelter in God’s strength in the midst of the storm. 

God moves in a mysterious way
  His wonders to perform:
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
  And rides upon the storm.

(William Cowper, 1773)            

[1]“Late season tornado warned storms roar through Ontario,” accessed Oct. 23, 2020,

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