I have a confession to make. I am a recovering control freak and this was not a good week for me. Last weekend, all the weather professionals were predicting a catastrophic storm was about to hit our area. It was the first hurricane in decades to take dead aim on the New Jersey coast line and the plow straight across the state and right over Philadelphia where I live. Given the hit and miss nature of weather forecasts, it was a little hard to believe what they were predicting, but it did not sound good.
As Monday began, we had light rain and some wind, but not much of the severe weather they had been predicting. Unfortunately, as the day wore on, the rain picked up and the winds began to howl. By midafternoon, branches had started to fall and the sky continued to darken. Still, I was hopeful. Our lights were on and no trees had fallen on our house. Then it happened.
At around 9PM, the lights went out as had been predicted and we heard a massive tree crashing somewhere on the property. It was not easy to sleep through the night as the wind continued to roar and I wondered if a tree was about to come crashing through the roof at any moment. All I could do was to pray and wait.
Things began to improve on Tuesday as the wind let up and the rain slowed, but the electricity did not come back on right away. Praising God for His protection of our family and the CLC property which suffered very little damage, I went to one of our stores to work in the afternoon and hoped that things would continue to improve. That night, literally as I was praying, the lights came on again – almost exactly 24 hours after they went off.
Once we had electricity again, we could turn on the television and see the devastation that had taken place along the New Jersey coast line and in New York City. Given the limited damage we had experienced and that our lights were already back on, it was shocking to see the extent of what had happened. As the rest of the week unfolded, it was incredible to see the lines of people waiting to get gas and a large part of lower Manhattan without lights for several days.
I have to confess that I felt guilt and shame at my own impatience with God this week. I thought we were going to have electricity through the entire storm when the lights we still on at 8:59PM on Monday. The moment they went out, I got frustrated and impatient. All day on Tuesday, I kept wishing to hear that the electricity was back on and that things were “back to normal”. Then I saw the real picture of the suffering of so many other people and realized that my situation paled in comparison. In many ways, I was one of the fortunate ones.
Sovereignty is defined as the status, dominion, power, or authority of a sovereign. Far too often, I allow myself to be fooled into thinking that I am the sovereign in my own life and that I can control what goes on around me. It takes a storm like Sandy to remind us all who actually controls the wind and the waves. If I am honest, I struggle at times to understand why God chooses to do what He does and this week was no different. Why did our house get spared when so many others were destroyed? I suppose that I may never find out the answer to that question in this lifetime. Part of being sovereign means that God gets to decide and does not have to explain Himself – Job certainly found that out the hard way.
The truth is; I am glad that I am not sovereign. I make a mess of things enough without having ultimate control. I am so glad that I serve a King who promises, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” While that future may not be obvious at times and can even be a little scary, I know that I can trust the God who sent his only son to die in my place. His plans may not always make sense, but they are always best.