I woke at 4:30 this past Monday morning to lightning, thunder and driving rain. I had heard the forecast so I was expecting a bit of rain at my parents’ cabin near Aitkin, MN. I was planning on spending a couple of days all alone to work on my Family Camp messages, removed from all the distractions that are so common in my “normal life setting.” Since the thunder and lightning kept me from falling back to sleep, I thought I might as well get after it so I started the coffee and fired up my computer. Off I go!
By six o’clock I was in a work-groove but couldn’t help noticing that the gutters couldn’t keep up with the rainfall. I made a piece of toast as the sky brightened enough to see that puddles were forming all around the cabin. No big deal; that is what happens when it rains hard. But by noon puddles were everywhere and the rain was falling as hard as ever. I checked the rain gauge that I had emptied the night before and it was reading just over four inches. Time for a sandwich.
At 4:00 PM the first section of dock was underwater and the boat cover needed for me to manually remove the water so that it wouldn’t tear. The lightning was still lighting the sky and the thunder boomed just as it had when it awakened me about a half-day ago. Now I was identifying that this was a unique storm and I better gather some information to help me process what needs to be done. So I did a few things:
- Listen to the radio and try to get the latest news which was, “Flooding everywhere so be careful if you are driving and if you are in low lying areas. Rain totals could approach a foot and the Mississippi will reach flood stage very soon. Winds will be picking up to 20 MPH and gusts could reach 35 MPH.”
- See if the gutters need to be cleared to move this water away from the cabin.
- Check the rain gauge – only goes up to 8 inches and it is overflowing. The yard is now half underwater and neat little streams are flowing around the cabin.
- Check the boat and dock to see if anything needs to be done so they don’t get damaged in any way or float away with the rising lake combined with heavy winds.
- Finally, call Dad. “Well Nick, glad we put on a new roof and replaced some windows. Everything should be fine. Just make sure the boat has rope to rise with the water. Be safe and we’ll talk tomorrow.”
So, in a nutshell my “discernment process” looked like this.
- Gather good information. Define reality!
- Do what needs to be done that you can.
- Prepare for additional things that might need to be done.
- Call Dad – He always knows more than I do about stuff like this.
- There you go – relax and ride out the storm.
The rain continued but I actually just enjoyed this rare storm I was living through. The weather information the next day described it as a cell that just didn’t move. No one had predicted this to happen but it did and I am just fine. As I consider the things I did, I think they are actually quite similar to how spiritual discernment [which is our topic for Sunday’s message] should take place in our lives. Know what is true, then live out of that truth but continue checking back in with the one that knows far more than you – that would be God!
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1.9-11