We’re waiting for the Doctor when we notice the wind outside. It’s whipping leaves around and blowing like a storm is coming from the West and the Wicked Witch will be here soon on her broomstick.
By the time we’re driving home, I’m dodging fallen branches and lawn chairs strewn across the road. We’re home an hour before the power goes out and the wind starts pounding the house and anything else unlucky enough to be outside.
That’s when the first piece of fence goes. And then the next two panels get flattened like they’re sheets of paper in the wind. The trampoline gets hoisted and planted in the garden.
They say the winds got up to 71 miles per hour. Not even enough to classify as Category 1 on the Hurricane Wind Scale. And yet driving around town, it’s a living graveyard of trees uprooted, snapped like toothpicks, impaled through roofs. Power lines are hanging loose, with downed poles on nearly every block. Thanksgiving is closing in and people are still huddled together in cold houses, waiting for the power to come back on.
When you’re in the middle of the storm, it feels like it’s going to rip the roof off your head and send your life scattering in every direction. And then you find out where it ranks on the scale of storms and you’re wondering how people survive anything more.
And I wonder, are we talking wind storms or life storms now?
Because I lean into the wind that beats in my life and I think it’s the strongest, hardest storm and then I look over and see the wind threatening to flatten a friend. Yeah, mine is hard but theirs looks near impossible.
My barely Category 1 pushes me to my knees and is no less real than that Category 5 but when you’re seeing the after-affect you can’t help but thank God for the 1 and wonder how you would have made it through the 5.
And yet people do. They not only make it through, they thrive. And I’m thinking that if we’re going to go around preaching a Gospel that applies to all people at all times in all situations, then it’s going to have to be something that is true for the days when it’s a cool summer breeze against your back as well as when the hurricane flattens your world.
I’m thinking it can’t be a Gospel that promises that with enough faith, the sun will shine and the bank account will sing.
It won’t work to have a Gospel that says pray enough and your children will never suffer, that you’ll never see death, disease or hunger.
What good does it do anyone to preach a Gospel that goes down lukewarm because it’s afraid to be perceived as too extreme, too demanding, too limiting, too much?
I read what Jen Hatmaker writes in her new book and I’m nodding yes like a silly bobble head doll on a car dashboard, “If it isn’t also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true.”
The Gospel we give, the Gospel we live has to be enough for the husband who just watched his wife walk out on him for another man. It has to be enough for the parents who bury their third child, or for the teenager who hears they have terminal cancer.
It has to be enough for the child whose innocence is stripped from them a dozen times each night in a brothel on the other side of the world. For the refugees running for their lives and desperate for a place to lay their head.
It has to be enough for the broken, the wounded, the barely-holding-it together, not just the wealthy, the play-it-safe, the never-stray-from-comfort people.
That’s the only Gospel I want to follow. That’s the Gospel I need. Because most days, my life isn’t looking Pinterest-perfect and I’m two steps from joining Humpty Dumpty in his great fall.
So I’m going back and turning the pages to remind myself of what that God-Man said and why He let Himself get nailed up on that Cross.
If that Category 5 storm ever hits, I want to be ready. Ready and rooted in a Rock that’s going to hold when the wind starts ripping the studs from the house and throwing trees through the air.