The storm brings challenges

 I stood on my house balcony at dusk looking at the beauty around me. This is the time I try to spend every evening thinking about life, the challenges and the opportunities. As I gazed around into the distance, I noticed far to the east flashes of light. I watched as the light flickered and exploded in the clouds. The scene captivated me in its intensity and excitement of unpredictability and variety. The storm was still far off but it seemed to be getting closer. I felt a curiosity urge to drive to where the storm was in display and to experience it first-hand. I looked to the west and saw lazy slow-moving clouds drifting around in calm. However, my attention and curiosity keep me going back to the east.

I seem to be looking for something new and exciting in my life. The calm can become mundane and predictable. The changes are subtle, expected and manageable. There are times when I find contentment in the peace, but other times when I seek the storm of challenge and unpredictability. There are times when I need the storms, but other times when I need the calm. Both are needed.

The storm brings challenge and growth to meet its power. I must bring strength from deep inside to face such moments. But after a while, I seek the calm to reflect and heal. Storms can be tempting to lure me to its moment. My selfish and self-destructive needs will overcome my wisdom of avoidance to such danger to my soul. I give in, go to the storm when I know I shouldn’t, and find to regret it.

The calm is a sweet peaceful contentment of contemplation and renewal. It is in the silence that I hear the beat of my heart, the sweet smells of life and the details often overlooked in haste.

I see, hear, smell and experience all of life in storms and the calm. In both I hear the voice of the Master showing me the wonders and the power of life. I need healing and sustainment of my soul in experiencing both. I need to be helped and guarded in the storms. I need in the calm the still small voice of the Creator to quiet my soul.





By Retired Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Ray Bailey

Former Deputy Chief of Chaplains