The Uninvited Guest

(Photo by Patricia Lyons)
“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.
They were glad when it grew calm,
       and he guided them to their desired haven.”
Psalm 107: 28-30
Last Friday, I talked about the inevitable storms that we all face in life and the promise that at some point, the sun will shine again.  As I wrote that, I was reminded of a certain event in my life that was almost overshadowed by a storm, but ultimately the sun won out.

When I began wedding planning in March, 2008 I always knew that a Virginia Beach wedding in September could mean hurricanes, but I never thought that would actually apply to me…I mean, I’m God’s favorite, you know.

Fast forward to the Sunday before my wedding and my mom came to me and said, “I don’t want to alarm you, but there’s a hurricane making its way up the east coast and there’s a small chance that it could land here on Saturday.”   
Excuse me?  Doesn’t Hurricane Hanna know we have a wedding that day?  I’m sorry, but she’ll just have to come back later.  
I once heard a woman at UVa speak and say, “Girls, each one of us has spent hours planning our weddings, but how many of us have actually thought about the marriage?”  During that week, all of a sudden, the planning, the details, and events didn’t seem to matter.  I just wanted to be married.  
At our last marriage counseling session in Virgina Beach that week, the pastor talked us through the “contingency plan” in case Hurricane Hanna decided to come to the wedding.  To which I replied, “If Bernie and I have to row a boat to your house on Saturday, and it’s just the three of us, that’s what we’ll do.  Wedding or no wedding, we will be married.”
A few weeks before the hurricane, my mom stumbled upon Psalm 107 and had been praying over it in regards to some relational storms she was anxious about.  It never occurred to her that in addition to relational storms, there would be an actual storm at the wedding.  Throughout the week, she continually spoke Psalm 107 to me, “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.  They were glad when it grew calm and he guided them to their desired haven.”  
As September 6th drew near, the weather report didn’t change much.  There were lots of things we had to change and Plan Bs that were set in motion, and the wedding was far from “perfect” by a wedding planner’s standards, but I think that even the imperfections were perfect.  I mean, what girl doesn’t love a little drama?
The day of the wedding arrived and the wind was fierce, the waves were intense, and there were spurts of rain throughout the day, but September 6th was here!  Thankfully, when the guests were coming to the church the rain had died down, but it was still a bit stormy.

The ceremony began at 6:00 and lasted about 45 minutes.  As the ceremony ended and they opened the doors for us to leave as Mr. and Mrs. Bernie Williams, the sun came pouring into the church and light filled the sanctuary.  The sun was here!  I couldn’t believe it!  We even got to take pictures outside the church and walk to the reception.

That week, I continued to praise God for how grateful I was that He was faithful to calm the storm.  In big ways and small ways, God was there throughout the entire week.  As I reflected over the week, I felt God tell me, that even in marriage, storms will come.  Being married doesn’t mean that your life will be perfect and your plans will unfold right before your eyes.  Just like Jesus said, “in this world, we will have trouble.”  Whether you’re married or single, there will be trouble.
BUT when the winds seem like they won’t die down and the sun is nowhere to be found, have faith that it will come.  When the storm feels out of control, He can and He will calm them.  We might not always know when or how, but they will be calmed.  

Though uninvited, Hurricane Hanna was a valuable addition to our guest list.  She shifted my priorities to my marriage, and taught me a valuable lesson about life’s storms and the God who calms them.

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” 
Mark 4:39
       “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
       I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
       When you pass through the waters,
       I will be with you;
       and when you pass through the rivers,
       they will not sweep over you.”
 Isaiah 43:1-2


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