Here in Mississippi, now more famously known as The Land Mass Between New Orleans and Mobile, all eyes have been on one eye this week: the eye of a storm. Isaac, the tropical storm formerly known as a hurricane formerly known as a tropical storm, has had more identity crises than The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. Or is his name Prince again?
Over the past few days, Isaac has sped up, slowed down, hit land, hit the gulf, slowed down, hit land, and now it’s floating upward at molasses-pace through Louisiana, Mississippi, and parts of Alabama. Before hitting the United States, it also wreaked havoc in Haiti. We pray for all in its path affected by the winds and floods and for those still in danger’s path. As children of God and theologians, we are called to ask ourselves a question. What have we learned in the literal and figurative storms of life? This is a question that still haunts us seven years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and twenty years after Hurricane Andrew.
We’ll answer that question differently at various times, and we may never want to answer it. As I sit here in the delta, the remains of Isaac swirl outside in wind and rain. I’m just now feeling the effects of the storm, but all I can think about is an event that occurred three days ago. I was sitting on the sun porch early in the morning, Bible in lap and cup of coffee in hand. All was quiet. Then a dog started barking. An owl hooted. Birds joined in the song. My neighbor’s pigs started oinking. One got louder. Then another got louder. A sneaky frog leaped on the porch swing beside me, letting out a “ribbit!” that sent coffee flying out of my mug. Quiet was gone, and the sounds of creation abounded. Some might have called it a cacophony, but I heard a symphony. My mobile phone chimed with text messages and alerts related to the Isaac, a bleak reminder of the unknown future. Even when creation was unstable, the Creator God sang. While the weather was unpredictable, the Creative God was present.
As the prophet Isaiah wrote, and many have quoted this week,
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
when through the rivers, they won’t sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you won’t be scorched
and flame won’t burn you.
I am the Lord your God,
the holy one of Israel, your savior.” (Isaiah 43:2-3, Common English Bible)
Thanks be to a God who sings through the storm. Let us listen carefully. Those of us who have experienced damage may not hear it at first. But let us keep listening. And let us hear his message of love and stability even in the confusing messes of life.
Read more from Darian Duckworth at her blog.