He clopped up to my door in his fireman rain boots proudly holding his new umbrella and pronounced, “It’s going to rain Grammy!” I could hardly contain my joy at seeing my precious grandson, four-years old and all grown up, dressed for a downpour. Not a drop yet, but he was ready.
During the hour I watched him and his little sister play in my living room that morning, the topic of rain continued. “If a thunderstorm comes, we go into the basement or the bathroom,” he told me. “That’s right,” I said in confirmation, “That’s what we do.”
“Why Grammy?” I chuckled that this question followed on the tail of such an intelligent statement. He knew what to do, but could not comprehend the reason for such action, nor the dangers such action would avoid.
Silly me, I launched into an explanation of the effects of a tornado blowing out windows and how, if you’re close to them when they burst, you may be cut by the glass. His eyes grew big as Frisbees as his mind processed the new information. With both hands on his face, he said, “Thunderstorms will break my window and cut my face?”
A rush of regret rolled over me as I realized I may have instilled a fear of rain and thunderstorms in this little boy; I quickly differentiated the words thunderstorm and tornado, distracting him by practicing the word tornado. It was all I could do to suppress a burst of laughter when it came out of his tiny lips as tomato.
From there I attempted to describe a tornado and separate it from a thunderstorm in his mind, since he was so excited—and prepared—for a rain shower, but it all became convoluted and soon I was frantically looking for an exit door. I found one and thankfully, he didn’t seem spooked by the new information. I’d like to believe that he was able to trust me with the details of what a “tomato” could do to his house and that if one came, he would know to run to the basement.
I tell that story because it reminds me of several things I had forgotten. First, information is not the same as understanding, nor is it wisdom. Second, just because you know what you should do, doesn’t mean you understand why you should do it; third, God doesn’t always explain why things happen the way they do because if He did, we would get spooked by the information.
Isn’t that how it happens? We get some information and think we understand it, but inside we still want to know why. Then, when someone who is wiser than we are tries to explain it, we get spooked by fears and become emotionally paralyzed. From then on we avoid the topic altogether and rob ourselves of the wisdom that tells us when to run to the basement!
You might have read my column earlier this year titled, “Mr. Safety.” If so, you know that my Daddy was all about having a plan. Now, as a grandmother, I see in the eyes of my grandson what my face must have looked like when Daddy tried to explain to me the reason why we were sitting in the basement with candles and cookies during a bad storm.
As a Christian, I also see that I am not able to comprehend all the information behind why I need to listen when God tells me in Proverbs 4:23 that I need to guard my heart. A deeper search in Proverbs on that topic shows me, “People may cover their hatred with pleasant words, but they’re deceiving you. They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them. Their hearts are full of many evils.” Of such behavior—like last month’s movie massacre in Colorado—are the storms of this life: wicked people doing wicked things to good people.
Since last September, I’ve been reading a chapter-a-day from the book of Proverbs in my Bible. On the first of the month, I read Proverbs 1, and in months with 30 days, I read Chapters 30 and 31 together. Why not adopt this great habit for yourself? You’ll soon find its timeless wisdom is relevant to every storm, danger or troubling circumstance you face in life; you’ll learn the signs of oncoming storms and know when it’s time to run to the basement.
When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation. Proverbs 10:25
P.S. As you can see by the picture above, it rained later that day! 🙂