My window this week looks out onto Pigeon Lake as my wife and I recently attended a conference at Elim Lodge just outside of Peterborough. I’ve been watching sunrises, geese, swimmers, fish, frogs and storms come and go. All in the span of just a few hours! It’s really quite amazing to watch things change in such a short span of time. The storm was especially interesting to watch. It started with a hard rain, then suddenly the clouds parted and the sun came out once again. Driving through the grounds heading towards the dining hall for dinner the rain and thunder came and went so fast some may not have even noticed it. A few people ran quickly for cover while a group of teens didn’t even stop playing volleyball in the sand.
This certainly made for animated dinner discussion. We love to talk about the weather! Looking out over the lake we wondered when the storm would hit. The clouds were quite dark and we could even see a wall of rain heading for the shoreline. Some said it was going to turn, while others said it was bound to hit shore in a matter of moments. Meanwhile, the more technical savvy pulled out smartphones checking the radar on their favorite weather app. In the end, the storm never did hit. The water calmed, the clouds moved off, the sun came out and the wall of rain seemed to disappear into the very lake it was raining on.
A couple hours later a house boat arrived at the dock. Apparently the storm was still moving around the Kawartha Lakes area and this family of 5 were looking for a place to wait out the storm. “Could they possibly stay tied up at the dock for the night” they asked. Of course they were not turned away. The kids had a wonderful time playing around the beach area and I’m sure the parents breathed a sigh of relief knowing they would not have to weather the storm on the water. They found a safe place to stay the night with the added bonus of a dining hall, showers, snack bar and even a kids program their children could enjoy for the evening.
How often do life’s storms come and we find ourselves either not ready, or ignore our surroundings and go sailing straight into the storm? Paul was under arrest and found himself sailing to Rome to stand trial. Along the way the ship he was on faced some terrible weather. In Acts 27 we find the voyage described as one of “great difficulty” where they followed the “coast line until arriving at a place called Fair Havens”. One would think a port named Fair Havens would become a place of welcomed safety and refuge from the storm. But, such was not the case. Paul warned his captors to stay put and not set sail as a storm was heading their way. Ignoring his warnings, they pulled up anchor, but it did not go well for them. The storm drove the ship far out to sea and not only were they lost, most of their cargo was lost at sea too. They found themselves drifting on the water with very little food and no land in sight.
What do you do when you’re faced with uncertainty everywhere you look? Some planned to abandoned ship, but Paul called them to prayer. He found some bread, gave thanks to God in front of them all and proceeded to feed all those on the ship. We’re told they were encouraged and altogether the 276 men on board the ship found safety on land a short time later. It’s true, sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of a storm simply because we did not heed the warnings from those around us. But no matter what the storm might bring, an attitude of prayer and thanks encourages those around us and will ultimately lead us to safe ground.
Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Today newspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.