On Hannah’s last day at the beach, we took a long walk at low tide. Strolling along the tide flats, we searched for beach glass and admired the beautiful houses on the far end of the bay. As we walked, the wind picked up and the sky grew darker.
My sister, Laura, and her family were staying down the beach, so they walked out to join us. We talked, admired the kids’ shells, and enjoyed the morning. To our surprise, we heard thunder in the distance. No big deal, we figured, at least it’s not raining.
Then the sky grew darker still and lightening shot across the clouds. We decided to head back to the house, walking quickly. As we chatted, one of the girls said, “Mom, your hair is standing up. Does mine look funny too?” We looked at each other and laughed at the static electricity in our hair; Hannah and I took a picture.
Russ didn’t laugh, he grew serious, calling out, “Spread out everyone and run for the house. We need to get off the beach.”
We were still a long distance away from any kind of shelter, so we ran. At first we took it lightly, I mean really, what were the chances of lightning striking us? But as I looked at my husband and children running toward the shore, sometimes through knee-deep water, I remembered something.
Tragedies happen – people die – God loves us and yet his will can be painful.
I was scared. I wondered what it would feel like to be struck by lightning. I wanted to pick Wogauyu up and carry him, but I knew we would be a slower and bigger target.
It seemed to take ages to get back to the shore, where we ran along the lower edges of the spit. Finally we were on the grass, walking up the path to the house. I didn’t feel safe until we were all inside, shielded from daggers of electricity.
My sense of security and my innocence are gone forever. I lost my daughter in a car accident. Six months later my firstborn son died.
I am confident of this, God is so much bigger, greater, wiser than I can possibly imagine, and this life on earth is shorter than it seems. I bend my knee to him. In light of eternity, our sufferings pass so quickly, but in this moment, right here, right now, my heart is fragile.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults and with my song I give thanks to him. Ps. 28:7
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