I was able to go up to the mountains recently with some young women. It was girls’ camp this last week, which is a yearly camp for the young women age 12-18 in our church. They go up with several leaders and spend 3-4 days in the mountains together. They pass off requirements and spend time learning about themselves, each other, and God. It is a fun adventure.
The night previous to my visit, I had been thinking about them. That night there was a huge storm. There was rain and lightening, and I thought of those young women and leaders out in the midst of it. I remember saying a little prayer for them as I snuggled safely in my warm, dry bed.
The next night when I went up with my husband, I heard several stories of the storm. One tent completely collapsed. Another partially collapsed. The girls had chosen a camp site some distance from the leaders as they wanted ‘space’.
In the midst of the storm, the girls were scared. For several moments, they felt very alone.
As I heard the stories, my memory went back to a night very similar two years prior. I was one of the leaders up at girls’ camp, and it was apparent a storm was coming in. We could see the lightening and hear the thunder. We knelt down together and said a prayer. Amazingly, although we got some rain, it almost seemed that the heavens parted, the storm went around us and we stayed mostly dry and safe. No collapsed tents. No drenched girls. A mostly good night’s rest and that was that. Our prayers were answered.
In my own mind, I started to ponder: Why didn’t God stop the storm last night? What was so different? Why did the girls have to be so alone and so scared?
Later that night as the girls shared some of their feelings about the storm, I found my answers.
Each tent had a tent captain, an older girl about age 16 or 17. These older girls were responsible to watch over the younger girls in their tents. As I mentioned before, one tent totally collapsed. The sweet young tent captain of this tent got the younger girls out, put them into another dry tent, and ran for the leaders, in the pouring rain.
That night as she shared her feelings, she said that as she ran through the storm, she felt very small and very alone. She continue to run and pray. In the midst of her prayer, she realized that she wasn’t small. The storm was small. She knew that she was a daughter of God, and she was bigger than this storm.
Drenched, she made it to the leaders’ cabin and was able to find help.
I realized in that moment how much faith these young women had. The storms came, they got scared. They felt alone. They got drenched, but they prayed and knew their Father in Heaven was there to answer their prayers. Whether or not He stopped the storm, He was there and He heard them.
I realized very clearly that this is a parable for life. Sometimes God will stop the storms when we pray. For some reason, we are able to avoid the rains, the mud, and the heartache that storm would have brought.
But, other times, God will allow the storm to rage. We will get wet. We may feel alone. We may be physically and emotionally miserable. But, those storms have the power to bring us closer to Him. We can reach out, through the rain, to find that we aren’t small. We are daughters of the most high God, and He loves us.
The storm is small compared to our own value and worth in the sight of God.
So, a few of the lessons learned:
The girls learned to pray when times get tough.
They learned they can do hard things.
They learned that even though they were scared and it was dark, the sun came up the next morning.
They learned to rely on each other.
They learned to rely on God.
They learned being afraid doesn’t mean you are powerless.
And, from one brave tent captain, they learned they are not small.
They are bigger than the storm.
I am grateful for the lessons learned in the mountains from some beautiful young women. God loves us. Whether it is a stormy night or sunny day, He is there.
“Filled with His love, we can endure pain, quell fear, forgive freely, avoid contention,
renew strength, and bless and help others.”
I hope you know that He is there through your storms.