Thursday, April 28, 2011

Waiting for the Lights

I loved this post by Laura at Living a Big Story. It reminded me of an experience I had a few years ago that I thought I would post here today.

In September 2008, Hurricane Ike roared in from the Gulf of Mexico. After careful consideration, our family decided to shelter in place. Our home was far enough away from the Gulf that we weren't worried about massive flooding from storm surges, we knew that damage in our neighborhood would come from the wind and rains. We had experienced Hurricane Rita a few years before and expected it would be more of the same.

Ike proved to be much more ferocious then Rita. We spent the days prior to Ike preparing our home for the onslaught and making sure all of our necessary provisions were in place. We then chose the safest room in our home, moved mattresses, blankets, food, water etc. in and then hunkered down to see what was to be. Our power went out shortly after we had all moved into the room. Mercifully, our children fell asleep before the fury of Ike arrived. My husband and I alternated between trying to sleep (impossible) and huddling around our radio trying to hear what was happening. Ike made landfall in the middle of the night and in the wee hours of the morning the eye of the hurricane passed directly over our home. The winds blew with such ferocity that all other sounds became almost indistinguishable. Through the wind we could hear faint popping sounds that we assumed were either twigs breaking or transistors blowing. Only when dawn came did we realize that those popping sounds were huge trees falling onto our street and into our neighbors homes. It was a very surreal, eerie experience that I hope to never have again. When the worst had passed the next morning, we decided to see if we could make it to my husband's parents house, to make sure that all was well there (Phones, cell and landlines, were out). Miraculously we were able to drive through the devastation and flooding and arrive safely at their home. While a huge tree had fallen in their backyard (it should have fallen directly into the room where my father-in-law was, but it scraped the entire side of the house instead), they had survived Ike with minimal damage. Almost immediately work crews from the Church started going out with their chainsaws to start the long process of clearing and cleaning up. Our family ended up staying at my in-laws instead of returning home, as they had a generator and could run the essentials (like a fan!) while the power was out.

When Rita hit our home, our power was restored in just a day or two. We initially expected the same to be true with Ike. Only when we saw what had really occurred did we realize that it might be awhile. Power company trucks from all over the United States began pouring into Houston to help restore power, we were certain ours would be on soon.

We waited, and waited, and waited. And then we waited some more. After a week or so power began to flicker on all over the city - but our home remained dark. After eight days power was restored to my in-laws home, but our home was still dark. It was a frustrating, difficult time as all we wanted to do was go home. We just wanted to go home. I had never before or since felt that incredible, overwhelming emotion of just wanting to go home. But we couldn't. September in Houston without air conditioning can lead to serious health problems, and since our son is prone to dehydration, we couldn't take that chance.

We waited, and waited, and waited. We always knew the lights would come on, we just didn't know when. We knew that the power company wouldn't leave us without power, that thought never crossed our mind, we just knew we had to be patient. Finally, after 15 1/2 days, our power was restored. We cried, loaded up our car and sped home.

I've thought a lot about this over the years. We always knew the lights would come back on. We had perfect trust in the power company that they would do their job and fulfill their promise to turn the light back on in our home, we just knew it is a matter of time.

I wonder if, at times, I have trusted the power company more then I trust the Lord.

Sometimes, when we are waiting, and waiting, and waiting, with the overwhelming desire to have the righteous intents of our hearts fulfilled, it can be easy to feel like the Lord has forgotten us. That He won't fulfill his promises, that He is answering everyone elses prayers, but is overlooking ours, that we have been left on our own to make sense of the destruction around us.

But the Lord ALWAYS turns the lights on.

Sometimes it's not according to our time table. Sometimes it takes months, years, a lifetime, and sometimes the lights don't come on in this life.

But the Lord ALWAYS turns the lights on.

One lesson this experience taught me is that I can trust the Lord perfectly. He is anxiously waiting to turn the lights on and will do so the very second that is best for us. He will not delay one moment longer then necessary because of His infinite love and care for us.

So no matter how long we may have to wait, we can be assured that He, who loves us more then we can comprehend, will ALWAYS turn the lights on.


  1. This is an INCREDIBLE post! Wow! Thanks so much for sharing it -- I hope you are saving this to give as a talk someday????

  2. Really loving this tonight- we're facing a bit of darkness right now, and we keep praying for the lights to come on. Thanks for the reminder to keep waiting! Here from Diapers and Divinity.

  3. Clicked over here from your comment on Laura's blog. Love your thoughts in this post! I am trying to be patient with the Lord's timing in my current struggles. Glad I found your blog.