Shortly after midnight on Oct. 23, hurricane Patricia became the strongest Pacific hurricane on record in the Americas. My phone started buzzing with texts from my family and friends that morning, since my name was soon to be associated with the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Pacific coast. I watched as real-time videos of the horrific storm popped on my computer screen, praying for the areas on its path. As it turned out, Patricia’s intensity decreased very quickly as the storm’s center ground across the rugged terrain of Mexico. The storm pushed inland on a speed that spared some of the country’s major cities and coastal resorts from major destruction. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Pictures of hurricanes have always fascinated me. Whirlwinds of such monstrous proportions that they can be seen from outer space, with a peaceful, small place in the middle. The eye of the hurricane. Measuring about 12-30 miles in diameter, the eye of a hurricane is the point about which the rest of the storm rotates and where the lowest surface pressures are found. Skies are often clear and winds are relatively light there. It’s the calmest section of the storm. Right in the midst of such turmoil and destruction, there lays a place of rest, peace, beauty even.
I thought about the eye of the hurricane as I lay down in the center of a CT scanner yesterday. As I looked up at the huge circle around me, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of unrest as the dye started flowing into my veins. The substance always gives me an uncomfortable flush and speeds my heart up a bit. As I breathed in and out, slowly, I thought about the results, and whether I will have the joy of celebrating another year cancer-free. Right there, in the center of the CT scanner ring, as I said a prayer of thanksgiving for whatever lot God allows, my heartbeat slowed down and I found myself smiling. Peaceful rest. Blessed assurance. The eye of the storm.
When hurricane hunters fly out on a mission to measure the pressure within the eye of a hurricane, they know that they’ll face terrible elements on their way. Regardless, they fly on, determined to withstand whatever threat there may be, keeping their focus on their destination: the place where the storm can be measured with precision, and stillness surrounds the plane.
Likewise, when it comes to life’s storms, if indeed we believe that God is in control and that he doesn’t allow anything in our lives without a purpose, instead of allowing our minds to wander to places of hopelessness and despair, we should press on through the storms, determined to find a place of stillness before God. As 19th century evangelist Hannah Whitall Smith once said: “Nothing so greatly hinders the work of God’s unseen spiritual forces, upon which our success in everything truly depends, as the spirit of unrest and anxiety. There is tremendous power in stillness.”
The eye of the storm is a familiar place to me. A peace that words cannot describe, men cannot explain, and every external assurance can never provide. It’s a peace that doesn’t depend on a good outcome. It’s supernatural peace. God’s peace. And it’s completely attainable, if only we deliberately seek God’s face, affirming our belief that he loves us and works all things together for our good and his glory. It’s praying instead of despairing. It’s spending time in his word. It’s remembering his goodness and grace to us through the years. Only then can we truly find the peace in the midst of life’s storms: The eye of the hurricane.
Patricia Holbrook is a Christian author and national conference speaker. Her first book, “Twelve Inches: Bridging
the Gap Between What You Know About God and How You Feel,” is now available on Kindle, and paperback at Barnes and Nobles, Amazon and other retailers. Visit her blog to read her devotionals at www.soaringwithhim.com or email her firstname.lastname@example.org .