As night fell on Monday, October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy seemed prepared to do her worst. As the last of the light faded outside my window, I could see the trees being tossed violently by the high winds and torrential rain. I didn’t want the dark, because I knew I would be even more frightened, but it quickly invaded anyway.
My living room was lightened by the glow of my kerosene heater and two battery-powered lanterns, but my attention was elsewhere. Even to my impaired hearing the sound was frightening. The wind howled with banshee-like wails and the rain peppered my windows and vinyl siding like many small stones.
In circumstances like this, the need for human companionship seems greatest. Knowing I had not been feeling well and would be alone during the storm, I had been assured by a kind young neighbor and a caring family member that they each would come if I needed them. I knew though, even in the direst of conditions, I could not imagine pulling them from their own families and homes to help me.
So, I hunkered down to ride out Sandy’s fury and pray for the best. I stretched out on the sofa and listened for sounds I didn’t want to hear; a falling tree or perhaps a breaking window. Likely sensing my feelings of isolation, or maybe being frightened themselves, my two cats soon joined me. My oldest companion, Frosty, nestled between my legs attempting to nap, while my other pal, Sammy, the sometime bad boy, stretched out across my chest with his head close to mine. Sammy’s contented purrs were loud enough that the sounds of the tempest outside actually became muted.
It was during that time I sensed another presence. It was as if Someone spoke to me in an inaudible voice that was more felt than heard. The missive was clear: “I’m here too, my child.” I thought of a spiritual post I had written the previous week of how Jesus spoke to the storm. “Peace, be still” were His words. His message to me seemed to be more along the lines of “Peace, be calm, for you are not alone.” The storm didn’t end immediately, but there was comfort to be found in knowing there were four of us there; three seeking refuge and another giving it. Within a couple of hours the storm had calmed. Sandy’s fury had been expected to last throughout the night so we were blessed.
Our neighbors to the north of the Delmarva suffered more severely and yet there were stories of heroic rescues and lives that were spared miraculously. My faith tells me God was in New York, New Jersey, and all those locations where suffering occurred just as He promised he would be all those years ago. “. . . And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). You’ll notice there are no exceptions listed in that verse. I pray that you too will feel the presence of the Master during the storms you encounter. May you be comforted by the knowledge He is with you, just as he said he would be.