Faith and Life: Thoughts from the eye of the storm

Our family returned this week from the Bahamas. It was a trip that was a long time in coming.

When we first saved up for it, then booked it, my daughter ended up in the hospital. We had to cancel, much to the disappointment of my other children. So finally everyone was healthy and off we went.

We were very thankful to be going. I felt so appreciative to God for this trip, knowing he truly helped us pull it off. The first thing we did when we arrived was put on our swim suits, run to the beach, and dash into the bathtub-temperature water yelling and giggling, “The Bahamas! We are in the Bahamas!”

All three children gathered around me as we swam in the sea. The water there is amazing, to say the least — warm, blue-green and clear. Put on a snorkeling mask and you see yellow, bright blue and orange fish.

The air is balmy, and the palm trees really do sway in the wind. It is paradise. We then proceeded to the water slides, which went from moderate to terrifying. Each child wanted a trip down them with mom.

So it sounds like a dream, right? It was. Until the day we were supposed to leave. We couldn’t. The airport shut down and we were stuck: Hurricane Irene was on its way.

I was filled with dread, as I never would have expected to put my children in this type of situation. In addition, I missed my entire caseload of patients that week and it was difficult to make many phone calls out.

Each guest was allowed 15 minutes on the library computer. Between email and texting, I tried to inform my family that we were stuck in the Bahamas due to the hurricane. I felt pretty trapped.

Why does God allow this type of thing to happen? I know this is a small incident in the grander scheme of things. But I thought of how I could have booked our trip the week before — or even after. We had an incredibly difficult summer due to many factors. Why this?

But as I sat the second day of the storm, against hotel advice, in front of a huge window at the end of our hotel hall, alone, watching the storm, I wrote many thoughts, prayers and even poetry. It was quiet except for the wind. I wrote with a creativity lost since my graduate school days.

I looked at God’s power to stir or still the storm. I realized he had the power to do so in my life as well. If I listened and obeyed, the outcome would be much different than if I went my own way.

God spoke to me through that storm. He cared enough about having a conversation with someone as minute as me. He uses many unique resources to speak to each of us — because all of us are distinctively and deeply important to him.

He will use original techniques to reach us all. My mother’s heart and desire to protect my children was how he reached me with his love and message. I was in the eye of the storm. I longed for a breath of fresh outdoor air, but the wind could blow a person over. So I had to stay inside, realizing God controls earthly decisions, our outcomes and steps, if only we allow.

If I relinquish control, I will breathe that fresh air, storms will subside, and I may continue my earthly steps without being blown over by the wind. Only God can subdue storms, giving us breath and life — the kind of life that is filled with joy.

The Rev. KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN holds a licensed marriage and family degree and can be reached by email at, or by mail at Kimberlie Zakarian Therapy, Inc. 2233 Honolulu Ave. Ste 310, Montrose, CA 91020.

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