I could see that it was raining west of Highland when I headed home late Wednesday afternoon. I could also see the big, blue-black cloud forming larger. By the time I’d reached Troy, it was the biggest and darkest front I’d seen in three months. It continued pushing, growing, coming closer. Around six-thirty, I saw little dollops in the belly of the storm, lighter colored clouds that looked like they’d been scooped out of the larger ones. I also saw the tinges of color in clouds to the west that speak of hail and strong winds that declare “severe thunderstorm.”
In the garage, I quickly moved the table saw out of the way so I could move the car into the bay. I parked the Ranger under the birch trees, hoping those slender branches might at least reduce the impact of hail. Just as I finished unhooking the horse trailer so I could move the Silverado, the microburst hit.
With no warning other than the signs of the clouds, we went from not even a breeze to a gust of western wind that snapped off small branches and sent the garden cart tumbling across the driveway. The branches of the cottonwood and every other tree bowed and swirled. Dust ripped across the pen and fields. By the time I’d driven the Chevy over under the spruce tree, the wind had shifted from the north.
Along with the fear of wind and hail, there was still a glad expectation of rain. “Ah,” I thought, “we’re going to get a good one out of this.”
Thirty minutes later, the wind was still bending the branches, still shuddering the limbs. But there wasn’t enough water to even cover the bottom of the bucket. We’d received the storm but without the rain we crave.
Somehow, in all of that blowing and shaking, in the dark blast of rain-less wind, I thought of those people who seem to be more about what they condemn rather than what they bless. To be sure, there are times for righteous indignation in a wicked world. But we should also keep in mind that we were not saved by the whip with which Jesus drove the money-mongers from the temple. We were saved by the cross on which he sacrificed himself. We were not saved by heaven’s fury, but by a gentle stream of mercy.