This is one of my favorite pictures. It was taken by Stanley Hall on August 31, 1954. Here is the original caption: “A passerby holds on to a tree for support as the hurricane swept waves hammer the sea wall adjacent to the Belt Parkway near 72nd Street in Brooklyn. The New York area and the New Jersey coastline were battered by Hurricane Carol as heavy rains and fierce winds disrupted power lines, felled trees and tangled air and highway traffic. The eye of the hurricane, which originated in the Caribbean, passed the Hamptons on Long Island. An estimated 175,000 persons were left without light and telephone service and thousands of persons evacuated summer bungalows along the southern shore. Gusts of 60 mph were reported in New York City, and 48,000 homes were without electricity.”
The interesting thing to me is that though the storm disrupted hundreds of thousands of lives and did million of dollars worth of damage, it eventually passed. Life in the area of Brooklyn that the hurricane damaged goes on to this day. It’s a reminder to that no matter how badly the storm I may find myself in is raging, it too will eventually pass.
When I look back, I regret the times that I let go of the tree in the middle of a storm and got blown backwards, erasing the spiritual progress I’d previously made. We and I can keep covering the same ground spiritually because we let go and regress to where we were months or years ago. Then we spend our time trying to claw our way back. I’m thankful for the times when I’ve just held on for dear life. Then I was able to make progress and gain ground once the storm ended, rather than having to make up ground I’d lost. Surely, the grace to hold on when everything in you wants to let go is one of God’s greatest gifts.
Robby and Robin Noll are real life heroes in our church family. He was our first baptism, on October 1, 1989. Two weeks ago yesterday and 24 years to the month when he was baptized he and Robin and others were able to baptize their 15 year old son Austin! He is a remarkable young man who is known for his spiritual maturity and dependence on God through prayer, among many other great things. In addition, the Nolls recently adopted a four year old girl and a three year old boy. Austin has been incredibly enthusiastic about being a big brother to them. Now they are one big crazy happy family! If you knew the Noll’s story and all that they’ve had to overcome, you’d be amazed. God does great work!
The point of all this is that you never know what miracles are on the other side of whatever storm you’re currently in. Yeah yeah, I know it’s easy to say this stuff when the sun is shining in your life and everything is great. I’ve experience and seen others go through all kinds of seasons and I’m telling you, don’t let go! As David wrote and sang, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.” So I say again, hold on. “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.”