There are certain times when you feel especially exposed and vulnerable. Such was May 5th, 2012.
Two days previous was a happy Sunday. I was content and felt close to God. We had decided to put the house up for sale in January upon completion of numerous projects. Things were going as planned, though a bit slower than I would have liked. I felt a new, exciting adventure was really going to happen. I told God I loved Him as I prayed that night and drifted off to sleep.
Rain the next day. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, I jumped out of bed at the sound of a deafening crack and a flare of blinding light from the window. Running to the window, I expected Armageddon, or at least a tree split in half from lightning. I saw nothing.
Then the smoke alarm went off. Rick looked all over the house and opened the garage door. He smelled something a bit funny in there, but I’d been moving things around and he thought that could be it. We gradually calmed down and went back to sleep.
Sunny and cheerful, the morning greeted us. I needed something from my studio out back, so I headed out the door. Hm, the light didn’t turn on. I looked at the 75 ft extension cord that connected the studio to the garage. Not only was it not connected, but the two plugs appeared to have exploded apart. I looked closer: Every few inches, a piece of inner fluff was blown out. So I followed the cord….
Long story short, just about every small appliance in my house was fried. Computer, three tv’s, full-spectrum studio light, weather radio, house phone, surge protectors (thanks a lot), Wii, electric blanket, water heater, garage door opener, and the A/C unit.
God, I told you I loved you. Do You hate me?
Sunday, I got my answer in the second song at church. “He tells every lightning bolt where it should go,” I read, horrified, on the big screen as everyone around me sang. I froze, then wanted to run away. God did hate me. He even had the whole church say it out loud! The few people I had told about the lightning now knew I was on God’s bad list too.
A crisis of faith followed for several weeks. I couldn’t pray. I didn’t want to go to church. I did finally call my pastor. I am so grateful that he didn’t condemn me for my faithlessness and anger at God. He let me be my awful, human self, and rant before he let me know I was dead wrong.
“We can never fully know how much evil God protects us from in this life,” he said to me.
I thought about this. I thought about it a lot. I was reminded of Jesus’ conversation with Peter, when He told him that Satan would like to “sift you as wheat.” But for the direct intervention of Jesus, Satan would eagerly have destroyed Peter then and there.
I was broken in shame, but in all the right places. I was loved and I had turned my back on the One I had professed to love. He started to fit me back together.
He used loving words and hugs from dear friends, a couple great deals on a used laptop and grain mill I had been wanting for a long time, a gift of money to pay for some surprise dental work, a gift of a food processor…. The blessings started coming and just wouldn’t stop.
I think I could even sing that song now and rejoice.