The wind has stopped blowing, the rain has stopped falling, the damage has been done, and now all that is left is to pick up the pieces after the storm.
So much energy and attention are paid to the lead-up, the preparation, the anticipation of the storm, that by the time it is over, everyone is spent – exhausted. Yet, that is precisely the time when one needs the strength to pick up the pieces – right when the fatigue sets in.
Why do we spend so much time talking about the storm before it happens – reporting on it as it occurs and so little on the lingering effects long after it’s over?
Whether it’s the massive cleanup, rebuilding, and repair after a tornado, retrieving and sorting through water-logged possessions after a flood, finding what you’ve lost in a hurricane’s receding waters, or putting the pieces together of a tattered life after some life-altering event – the clean-up after the storm is the least sexy part of the recovery effort.
Yet – it’s the clean-up after the storm that determines your future. It’s the clean-up that takes the longest. It’s after the storm that you need the help. It’s after the storm when the loneliness sets in and when you’re most in need of a friend.
It’s also after the storm that people show their true mettle. It’s when you see people who have lost everything come together to help others who have also lost it all. After the storm is when your real friends step forward, and the false ones fall away. Storms show us the depths of our own faith. They are a blessing because they are revelatory.
James Lane Allen said, “Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it.”
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24–27