Never would I have believed I would ever see an F-2 tornado in Maryland. Kansas and Nebraska, certainly. But in a county in Maryland made up of hills and valleys, housing developments, and the Catoctin Mountains to the west, never.
Hurricane Ivan was the strongest Atlantic hurricane of 2004, and called ‘Ivan the Terrible’. On September 16, it skirted up the eastern seaboard and struck Maryland as far inland as the Allegheny Mountains. Around five that afternoon we stood outside and watched dark gray to black clouds rotating and swirling with such great force across the sky that we could see debris in the air.
We went inside to turn on the news. I looked out our upstairs window that faced the farmer’s field across the road. Not believing what my eyes were seeing, a black wall cloud deepened, and then three funnel clouds began to descend. I stood stunned as one formed into a sharp point and rapidly touched the ground. It was a mile and a quarter away, but it looked monstrous as it whirled and hissed across the field parallel to our home with winds up to 130 miles an hour. We went into the basement for safety. My heart was pounding as a prayer was uttered on my lips.
The tornado tore up the field and destroyed a barn and ripped the roof off a farmhouse. It lifted and dissipated before reaching a housing development.
We don’t expect or welcome trouble. But the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Some people may only experience a shower or two, others thunderstorms and hurricanes. I remember as a child my father lifting me up in his arms during a thunderstorm. I trembled in fear with each crash of thunder and flash of lightening. Yet, as long as Daddy kept me close, I believed I was safe.
What sustains us through the storms of life? How do we react when the storms mount up against us and the winds buffet us? When we surrender the windstorms of life, our cares, our pain, our anxiety and worry, to Him, He will sustain us through the most violent of storms.
Excerpt ~ Devotional from the Book Discussion Guide for Surrender the Wind. Available to Book Clubs everywhere through Abingdon Press.