Praise in the Storm, United we Stand

Lightning covered the sky. The mumbling thunder crawled nearer after each flash. Soon, rain poured down as if God was power washing the Christian summer camp I worked at.

I stood inside the cinder-block dorm room with my ten preteen campers, leading them in an activity. The co-counselor and I intentionally kept the severe-thunderstorm and tornado-watch warnings from the campers in efforts to not alarm them. However, I soon received a phone call instructing me to group my campers inside the bathroom of our room and wait for the weather to pass over us.

We huddled together in the humid bathroom and shut the door behind us as we sat on the cold tile floor. Campers held each other for comfort and some looked at me with moist, fear-filled eyes. First we prayed, then I read a couple Psalms from the Bible, which they requested. My favorite memory of the entire week, however, was when we began to sing praises together and drowned out the rolling thunder coming from outside.

We sang simple Sunday school songs like “Jesus Loves Me” and heart warming songs like “The Greatest Commands.” The louder the thunder rumbled, the louder we sang. Our voices echoed off the cinder-block bathroom and the girls laughed when we messed up verses, and when I changed my voice to sing the bass and soprano parts of the four-part melody.

Not long after our run to shelter did we have permission to empty back into the sleeping area of the dorm room. I was excited to leave the humid and enclosed bathroom, but sad to leave our circle of praises. The girls had lost all fear and created a new fun memory from their week at camp.

I felt the Holy Spirit move that night. I felt Him comfort the girls and wrap us in His arms as we waited for the tornado warnings to cancel and thunder to fade away. I was mystified by the glorious sound of 8-13 year old girls praising the Lord God Almighty and rejoicing in the hope He provides.

That night united our camp group. We were singing to our Father in unison. We were united for our Love for Him, we were united in our hope in Him, and we trusted in Him to keep us safe in the storm.

In John 17, Jesus prays for his disciples and all other believers.

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one- I in them and you in me- so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:22-23

Jesus said the world will know Him when believers are united. Through believers being always united, staying connected to the True Vine (John 15), not just inside church buildings or home Bible studies. Believers sticking together in all life has to offer, rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn (Romans 12:15).

God works in us and through us as we support one another. We are His tools and He is the Craftsman (perhaps Jesus was a carpenter to illustrate this idea). As long as we remain in Him, He uses us to make His mark on this earth, in order for the world to know Him.

And together, we can withstand all storms in life with hope and peace, and in doing so spark the spirits of the lost sheep in the world today.

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