HE FISH HAD quit biting, small craft warnings were being issued, and communiques on the approaching hurricane were becoming increasingly alarming. People were hurriedly putting on storm windows and otherwise battening down the hatches for the expected blow.
The red brick community schoolhouse was considered to be the sturdiest building in the little coastal town where we lived. Soon frightened people began to gather there for the night. The hurricane might hit directly or verve off on another course and spare the city. No one knew quite what to expect. The waiting was awful.
By morning, gusts of wind were whipping the palms and shrubbery. Suddenly the waiting ended when in awful fury the hurricane struck.
With wide frightened eyes we sought out Father and asked him if he were going to take us to the school. He told us that he felt we would be safe enough to remain at home.
For a time we watched the awful violence of the storm. Empty boxes, pieces of paper, sheets of tin roofing, et cetera, were swept pell-mell before the wind. Our house trembled and shook, and everyone spoke in whispers. As the fury of the wind increased, my father gathered us around him in the center of the house. He explained, “Flying glass won’t be likely to reach us here and the center walls will hold for a time if the house should collapse.” Sometimes it seemed the house would be swept away like a toy. We huddled together and wondered how the rest of the town was faring, especially those who lived next to the Gulf.
Around noon, the winds abated and most unexpectedly, a perfect calm appeared. The atmosphere seemed to be filled with a bright light. We thought the storm had passed but our wise father knew better. He said, “This is the eye of the storm. Let’s go to the post office and look about a bit. I think there will be enough time before the other side hits.” We quickly tumbled into the car and were on our way.
There was plenty to see. Small houses had been lifted and carried away; cars had been blown off the road; roofs were missing on some houses; trees had been uprooted; there was water and debris everywhere. Upon our return, we barely reached the garage before the gale struck again.
My father called loudly to be heard above the roar of the wind, “This is the other side of the hurricane. Hurry and get inside the house.” He began helping us reach the house. There was a frightened cry as the wind blew one of the smaller children into a field where she began screaming for help. We huddled once more in the center of the house and waited for the storm to pass.
At last it was all over, and slowly people began to come out to inspect the damages. The great fishing pier had been swept away. Large estates, located near the beach, were flooded and badly damaged. Ruin and destruction could be seen wherever one looked. The cleanup and repairs began at once.
After twenty-five years, I can still recall that awful hurricane and the utter peace and calm of the eye at the center of the storm. The luminous brightness of that calm is still vivid. What a spectacular phenomenon.
Whether the storm be physical or spiritual, there is a calm eye at the center. When the flood seeks to overwhelm you; when you feel the storms of life raging and their fury threatening to destroy you. take courage and know that Jesus Christ is that calm and peace at the center of the storm.
“He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven” (Psalm 107:29, 30).
Be still and rest in the Lord, and no evil will come nigh you!