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Don't face your storms alone...

The wind was blowing, and the rain pelted the trailer walls. My Crew and I were gathered in the company ‘dry shack’, the place onsite where you could change out of street clothes also eat lunch. It was the fourth time this week that the tornado sirens had sounded and even though we knew there was no protection from the violence of such a storm in this trailer, there was no other place onsite besides inside the cooling towers to get in out of the


As we sat in our corner of the shack two other crews who were assigned to it now sought refuge there. The place which was normally a buzz with the noise of men swearing and telling tales was now eerily quiet. Just whispers and the whining of the wind and persistent driving rain. There was a mood of anticipation almost like a blanket covering us all as we awaited the freight train like sound of an approaching twister.

Most of us who had worked on the Marble Hill Nuclear Power Plant just outside Hanover, Indiana had stories to tell of life and death experiences with these monster storms and I was sure if we were in a more secure spot the room would be full of harrowing tales of survival and bravado. But now the one thing that all the men here would not talk about, the thing we never admitted to, that thing called fear had captivated us all.

After all we were Ironworkers. Didn’t we defy death every day? Working multi-stories above the ground walking on eight-inch beams without an ounce of that emotion. In our trade there could be no fear. If you had it, you would wash out and go on to do something less dangerous. So, as we sat here just the idea of fear seemed to shame this bold and noisy bunch. Then a strange thing happened, someone must have got religion and began to sing.

I was thankful it was not on my crew. They knew better than that. No God talk or song with us. We believed in each other and in ourselves, no need for some vindictive deity and seeking his pleasure every time any of us were in trouble. Or so I thought was the truth among these guys I worked with so closely. But as a spiritual song began softly from the other side of the trailer I was amazed as one after another of my comrades joined in. Soon most of the room was singing a song I had heard before when the holy roller guys onsite would get together for what they called morning worship, I was pretty sure it was called Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me I once was lost, but now am found Was blind but now I see…

As the intensity of the storm increased so did the volume of the singing. I sat with my head hanging, but I could not resist raising up to look at the men around me. They too sat with heads bowed but in what looked like reverence. Some mumbling others singing like they were in church. Just fear I thought, it does strange things to people, but not me. I sat in smug silence, knowing no song or even a God would stop a twister from killing us all if that was our fate. I just needed a good stiff drink. Then let nature do its worst.

I spent most of my life with this attitude. Dealing with fear or any other emotion by drowning them in oceans of alcohol or burying them in a mountain of white powders. No God to believe in, no Savior to save. Just me. What I could not see in that self-absorbed state was how much wreckage I had wrought. Like that tornado we sat in fear of. The innumerable people I had hurt or worse, including my own son. Not caring, as long as I could bury my own pain in that next drink or next line of speed, my life would be ok. But it was not.

The truth was that I was alone and bitter even in the middle of marriages, fatherhood, and friendships. Always alone. Have you ever had a glimpse of that when you look in the mirror? A lonely person staring back at you and instead of facing that person you run to your favorite addiction to hide in and behind. It does not matter what that addiction is, be it alcohol, drugs, food, or even religiosity. Each leave us on an island alone with no hope of rescue. With a wreckage of human destruction in our wake. Man, it took me almost 45 years to admit the truth about this. When I finally able admit I could not do it alone. I could not stop the pain in myself or the paint I inflicted on others. That miracle occurred only by meeting Jesus Christ and getting to know Him.

So, how does a God hater and addict like me do that. Well, there isn’t enough time to tell you all that right now but what I will share is that it took God’s grace opening me to Him through the power of his word, the Bible. Then committing to read that Word. Even when I did not want to! Slowly finding that its power is so great could change even me. I know I have quoted this next verse in my blogs many times before but it is so true I love sharing it again and again,

“Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

That comes from one of my favorite books in the Bible, the book called Hebrews. You will find it near the end of the New Testament and in chapter 4 and verse 12. You see, the Bible is not magical but it is alive and can be active in your life as it has become in mine.

Once you do that, allow that living Word into your life, Jesus will meet you right where you are, even if it is on that island you have created. Or even in the midst of your storms and fears. Only he can rescue you, only he can calm that storm. Only He can open you to see truth, real and lasting truth. Yes, some will be painful, as you come to see the pain you have caused others. But He will also show you the amazing grace of that song and it will become true to you too, but only if you are willing.

I was not so willing years ago, sitting in that trailer as the tornado passed a few miles away from us. In less that a half hour the sun was shining again and the moments of fear and worship those who were willing shared was gone. None of us ever talked about it. But I could tell that some who shared it were changed a bit by the experience. No, it would take many more years for me. But I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus that today I can sing those words and know how true they are. Maybe today as storms loom on your horizon you can sing along with me.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me I once was lost, but now am found Was blind but now I see…

It is my prayer that you too can see the light breaking through as the Son, that is S-o-n, the son of God Jesus shines into your life today.

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