The air seemed unexplainably different. The sky looked eerie. Then the wind began to show its power. I left the loft of the cabin to the ground floor thinking it would be safer.
The winds were swirling around the cabin. The tin roof banging made met think that any moment it would fly off leaving us literally without a roof over our heads. The thunder was deafening with lightening lighting up what otherwise was a dark sky.
Barnabas! Oh no! He cannot be alone now! He is just as fearful of storms – if not more so than I am! Ever have a 93 pound dog jump into your lap shaking? What is he thinking when he does that? Does he THINK he is a toy poodle? I remember so many times when my huge dog jumped into my lap about to squash me. Quickly I grab a few provisions, a rain jacket and his leash and run get him. He sees me running into the Playhouse (the building in the back yard where we set up various stations for reading, arts, quilting). Barnabas, who has already been howling, begins to cry at the top of his lungs! I try to assure him I am coming as fast as I can to his pen to get him which only gives him minimal comfort.
Finally! In what seemed like an eternity but was only a few minutes, I reach Barnabas and we escape together to the Playhouse to wait together. Neither of us knows what the next moment will bring. Whatever it is – we’re facing it together which brings us both a sense of comfort.
The winds start to blow so hard that the building begins to shake.
The power goes off. UGH- no air conditioner! The humidity was thick. It was hard to breath. I needed fresh air. I sat closer to the open window but no relief. The wind was calming down. We had no idea if it was only a temporary lull. We decided to take advantage of it and we relocated to the porch. Now the winds were revealing themselves with a soft breeze with gusts every few moments. What once was scary is now refreshing.
Barnabas, no longer fearful and having regained his composure was sitting “very stately- like” keeping watch over the cabin. He was alert and ready to react in case of lightning strike or damage to the cabin. We were poised to run and wake up Betty if needed. It is SO amazing how she can sleep through such a storm!
Then I began to see them.
Then more …and more! Lightening bugs! Some call them fireflies. Since the power was still off there were no lights in the village of Daleville. The darkness enabled us to see what I normally could not see --- all the lightening bugs which surround the cabin in the night hours.
Lightening bugs remind me of times in my childhood. It was a time of joy, laughter and security. On the rare visit to Virginia where my relatives lived, Betty and the cousins would spend hours in the evening catching them in mason jars.
Tonight their sighting brought an overwhelming sense of security again. It reminded me that our Father God surrounds us on every side. There are hosts of heavenly beings that surround us yet we rarely are given the eyes to see them.
It reminded me of a narrative of one of our ancestors, Gideon, recorded in Scripture 2 Kings 6:15-18:
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.
16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
Barnabas and I soon returned to the playhouse to finally get some sleep. I’d just encounter the still soft voice of God in what he allowed me to see. Though there are times when our natural sense leads us to believe that we are alone, that is only a false reality.
The true reality is that we are surrounded by a host of witnesses and heavenly beings. God will never leave us or forsake us.
At 1:30 I woke. The darkness of the storm had passed. Security lights were back on. Lightening bugs could no longer be seen. But it no longer mattered. I KNEW they were there even though I could not see them.
I know, too, that God’s heavenly hosts surround me wherever I go – even in the darkest night and in the midst of the scariest of storms.