When storms come too early


Radiant and blazing sunshine is the innately distinguishing differentia of the summertime in Texas. Outdoor activities are copious. Indoor gatherings are also a galore for groups that desire to escape the state’s sweltering and smothering heat. The latter was the choice of the RCCG North America mission when it held its carnival-like convention in June 2018 at its Floyd headquarters. I joined the holy chariots of thousands of other ordained ministers to get drenched in the week-long soul-lifting event that comes big once every year for members who call the United States home. After the end of the activities of the last day of the grinding gathering, I hopped on my scheduled flight on American Airline from DFW Airport back to my base in Wisconsin. The full flight was scheduled to take a little over two hours.

This time of the year in the US, sometimes airplanes run into unexpected turbulences that rouse you up while you slumber off during flights. This flight seemed to have beaten that snafu. The draining convention had knocked me off into a deep REM sleep as I enjoyed the ride. Two hours into the flight, the pilot announced that we would be landing in Milwaukee in 35 minutes as he dipped into the flight’s initial descent. I woke up to get myself ready, ensuring I left none of my belongings behind on the Boeing 727 aircraft. I looked through the windows and we could see the lights from residential homes on the ground welcoming us. 20,000 feet off the ground, and without a forewarning from the pilot, suddenly the aircraft plunged into a rattle. The big flying object shook and vibrated as it swiveled to the right and to the left in the skies. Objects were tossed all over and all around in the cabin. Passengers’ high-pitch screams accompanied the bow-wow. We had entered a heavy storm close to home! A storm? Didn’t the pilot know this ahead before he plunged in?

The images of my three boys and their beautiful mother and wife came right before my shut eyes. I grabbed the two handrests on my seat and began to speak in unknown tongues. For some reason, I didn’t have a shred of fear. My spirit was calm, but I didn’t stop praying in tongues.

Today isn’t an appointment with my Maker. I’ve still got a lot to do.” I thought to myself. But if it was, I had no control over the calendar of Divinity. Nobody does.

The experience of the pilot then kicked in. He shot the aircraft back up in the skies and then, suddenly, a caressing calm followed. The whole jittering episode lasted about a minute. But it was a minute not to be minutely forgotten.

The pilot announced: “I don’t know where we’re going but we’re getting outta here.” I didn’t know where we were going either, but I knew where we were not. Not yet an appointment with God in one of His many heavenly mansions.

The pilot perambulated in the skies for about 15 minutes trying to contact Air Traffic Control Tower anywhere outside of Milwaukee for a landing spot. Chicago O’Hare Airport beckoned us in. When the plane landed, everybody scampered out quickly. But the journalist in me strove to probe further what really happened. As I exited the aircraft I went to the pilot and asked him why we had to go through what we had gone through 30 minutes earlier. I had the right to ask questions. And freely I exercised it.

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“It was the Midwest storm. We knew about it; I thought we could beat it; but it came too early,” said the pilot.

What is a storm? It is trouble, trial, tribulation, and an unexpected negative turn of events in life. The truth about life is that storms are part of our human existence. We don’t pray for them; and they’re never in our consideration as we set our life goals and hope to fulfill our dreams. When they come too early and unannounced, they unsettle the human spirit.

 I heard the story of a young couple who had to wait harrowingly to have a child. They had everything figured out after their wedding. An expected beautiful future seemed not too far out. Suddenly the wife got pregnant. During prenatal care, doctors said when the baby would be born, he would have a major birth defect. How can a new couple with their first baby be hit with this kind of nightmarish news? Then, the baby came. Cerebral palsy was the diagnosis. The young couple’s lives were shattered. They had to be put on hold to care for a baby who was supposed to bring them joy in its fullness. When the storm comes too early; it unsettles the human spirit.

Almost 30 years ago I worked in a medical facility in Baltimore where I cared for a young man who was shot in the back in a drive-by shooting when he was only 14 years old. The young boy was only riding on his bike enjoying the summer. He escaped death by a whisker. But the pellets of bullets tore through his fragile spine and caused him to become paralysed from the waist down. His young parents in their 30s had to carry the burden of caring for a son with a bright future. It was a calamity early in life.

The Master Messiah once said to his audience: “In this life you will have storms.” What he meant was that storms will always come. But when they come too early and unexpectedly, they unsettle the human bones and marrows. Of all the things that God created; the storm is one brutal beast that can, at will, thumb its nose at anyone with much disrespect and dastardliness. When it strikes a king, the riches of the palace and the bigness of the kingdom cannot defend him and his multitude of queens. When it hits the rich; his vast wealth becomes a security architecture that has no potency to save. When it strikes a poor man, the biting harshness of poverty cannot provoke pity or a spare. When it strikes a believer, it opens a YouTube of gossip and Facebook of belittling talks that are intended to make our Big God small and inconsequential.

The storm, much like our God, is no respecter of persons. What do you do when the storm comes too early? It’s the same thing you do whenever it comes. Hold on to Him who spoke storms into existence. This is where a relationship with our Maker makes the difference. He is the Master over every storm. He is the One who calms all storms no matter how raging it gets. He gives much Grace to endure a thorn in the flesh. And He makes a way of escape so that you may be able to bear it.

Twitter: @FolaOjotweet


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