By Curtis K. Shelburne: Religion columnist
Boy, the weather’s been weird lately.
As I write, some of my good friends and family down south are scrambling to get out of Dodge (make that “Houston”) as Hurricane Ike gets ready to come ashore. (In the old days, you may recall, hurricanes were all women. Hmm. Ike may be scary but I’ll betcha a ticked off Tina would be a lot scarier! We’ll know more soon.)
Well, hey, friends and folks from down in the swamp, just hustle on up here to God’s country, high and dry, and hang out with us for a while. Right?
Well, usually. But not this time around!
In our flat and dry part of the world, two cowboys sittin’ on a fence spit tobacco juice at the same time and Lubbock has mudslides and flooding. (Well, at least, flooding. It’s far too flat for anything to slide much in Lubbock. Being short of such sliding things, they named a road “Slide.”)
It doesn’t take 10 or so inches of rain in just a couple of days to cause some serious problems over there, but that’s pretty much what Lubbock got last week even as Hurricane Ike was bearing down on Houston. So . . . wherever you might choose to run if a hurricane is after you, Lubbock was not the best choice for sanctuary last week. Cars were flooding out and floating around, schools were closed, and life was more than a little wet. Texas Tech’s football stadium looked like the old Roman Coliseum flooded to float ships and boats so naval “battles” could thrill the crowds! (I wonder how high dollar fake turf reacts to sitting in some serious soup for that long?)
In any case, we’ve been reminded recently that you don’t have to live on the coast to get to deal with the havoc that storms of many sorts can wreak. Storms in nature get our attention as they blow away, wash away, pound away, our inflated opinions of our own ability to “control” our world and our lives. When they come, we do what we can, “batten down the hatches,” hunker down, covey up, and pray for strength to hang on. And we know that the strength we most need is not our strength at all, but the strength of our Creator, the only One who ever spoke a word and calmed a storm.
It’s true with hurricanes and floods. It’s also true with the gale force winds that spin around us at times and remind us that marriages and finances and children and health and, and, and, are not things we can ever tame and control. About the time we give in to the arrogance that causes us to think that we can, two cowboys spit tobacco juice in Lubbock, Tina kicks Ike out of the house and toward Houston, or . . .
Life happens. But God is stronger than storms.