"God's plan" by Lorrie Lane Dyer (CatholicMom.com) Via Pixabay (2012), CC0 Public Domain

For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11

Last week I went to visit my good friend who lives a couple states away from me. We maximized every moment we had together; talking, sight seeing and eating a lot of food. We were both excited about eating at restaurants that we don’t have in my small town (which are many). We enjoyed one another’s company and of course, all the delicious food!

At the end of the day

Friday, we found ourselves getting drizzled on, but it wasn’t a big deal since we had just finished another delicious meal. We quickly headed through the drive-thru to pick up something to eat for her son.  At the window of the drive-thru we heard the tornado siren go off. The lady at the window said, “Here you go; I have to shut down the store. Stay safe.” The house was nearby so we hurried home to get to my friend's son, who was home alone. The sky turned from sunny to dark; the sprinkles became a wall of rain pouring down, making visibility difficult. It was ominous looking.

We quickly pulled up in her driveway, took a deep breath and ran for the door. The rain was coming in from all directions and the winds were picking up. The electricity was out and my friend couldn’t get the electric code to work to let us in the door. As we huddled behind the storm door, my friend banged on the door while I pushed on the powerless doorbell. We were both frantically looking over our shoulders to see the darkness surround us. The winds blew wildly and rain saturated us to the bone. Our hearts beat rapidly, as we tried to yell over the storm so her son would hear us. As I tried to call her son, he opened the door.

We literally stumbled in . . .

. . . full force, soaking wet, almost in tears out of fear for our lives. We rushed down to the basement, teeth chattering and hearts pounding beneath our wet clothing. The storm wasn't an exceptionally long storm but its impact is certain to have long-lasting effects on each of us. We peeked out the basement window to see the winds ripping through the trees. Within minutes the six-foot privacy fence was lying on the ground on both sides of the yard. The yard was strewn with trash cans, debris, shingles and tree limbs.

Just a few feet from where we were huddled up on the front porch lay large branches from the tree that stood in the front yard. The neighbors' yards were in similar states. We were emotionally and physically exhausted. But there was work to do. As the storm subsided, we drained the sump pump every hour throughout the night. It was good mindless work that helped us relax and sort through things in the silence of our minds.

We knew we were fortunate

It became even more evident as pictures of the neighborhood just behind us came out. Houses were crumbled and we did not know if anyone was hurt. Yet our hearts flooded with appreciation for our own lives. We looked at one another and said, “We are so lucky to be alive.” Thinking back on how we desperately tried to get in the front door and the almost debilitating fear that filled our hearts, I wondered if that was what the “fear of God” felt like. I don’t think so because I felt like God must have great plans for my friend and me. We could have easily been like the branches from the tree in her front yard, the ones that now lay on the ground just ten feet from the porch.

I didn’t realize how afraid I was . . .

. . . until I was on the plane returning home the next day. Emotions flooded me as I sat there staring at the back of the seat in front of me. I thought how God reached down and protected us that night. I thought how lucky I was not to be on that porch alone. I was with a good friend and God was watching over us. I found comfort in God’s words,

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11

I always thought God had great plans for me.

[tweet "A storm turned the thought that God has great plans for me into belief."]

That night, that thought turned to belief. God has great plans for me, for my friend and for each of us. That night he spared my friend's life and my life. He opened my eyes to a deeper appreciation of life, for my family, friends and all the blessings he has given me. I was reminded how precious and valuable life is; that God loves each of us; and God has plans for our lives. God’s love for me (for all of us) gives me hope and I look forward to the future knowing God has great plans for me, plans for my welfare, not for evil.

Copyright 2017 Lorrie Lane Dyer