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Weather the Storm

This weekend promised to be an exciting one. An arctic front blew through Dallas Thursday night, bringing with it the promise of rain, and the possibility of ice, sleet, and/or snow. On Friday, the National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for the North Texas area from Sunday afternoon through Monday. Local news channels sent teams to Lowe’s and Home Depot to interview employees and customers about last minute provisions like covers for outdoor plants. Other crews populated grocery stores, looking for folk stocking up on water, batteries, and canned goods. As a minister, I immediately began to worry about worship attendance. I even asked on Twitter for predictions about Sunday’s weather:

Who's got weather predictions for tomorrow? Obviously every preacher expects sun and no precipitation.
Many colleagues posted status updates on Facebook like this: “It may be cold and yucky outside, but inside it’s warm and dry in church! Come on down!”

So we waited out the storm of anxiety (the actual storm didn’t show up Sunday morning). The Parents of Faith class still had its annual pre-Thanksgiving meal, which Christy, the boys, and I enjoyed very much (thanks again for the invitation, Kathy!). After lunch I walked to the car—it had rained recently and there were ice patches on my grill and mirrors. When I picked up the family we headed home, hoping to beat the freeze. We made it. I encouraged Christy to stay home from her planned study meeting with her classmates. And we waited. It never snowed or iced in our neighborhood. Late in the evening the Winter Storm Warning was downgraded—but there would still be a chance of ice, and some schools delayed opening until 10:00. Even this morning I was still anxious enough that when I woke up at 5:18 to the sound of drops I pulled out the phone to check if Richardson ISD was closed or delayed. Nope. Just another wet, though cold, morning.

Weather adventures are part of the fun of living in Dallas. Our climate can produce thunderstorms in the summer, tornadoes in the spring, and obviously, winter weather in the... well, winter. Or not. Part of the job requirements for on-air TV folk is the ability to pull on a parka or raingear at a moment's notice and hit the streets. Every weather person seems trained to heighten our anxiety (and their excitement) while at the same time hedging bets-- the models may change-- you never know... So I was amused, and somewhat excited, to hear that Matthew, a senior at Custer Road who is planning to attend OU next fall, will study meteorology. I can't wait to follow his career with a combination of anxiety and excitement. His mother told me he first learned the US states with his dad, studying weather patterns across the country in the Metro section of the newspaper. How is that for a sweet mental image this dreary Monday morning?

I am not going after our faithful meteorologists. The math and science involved in weather prediction has to be at a very high level. I am poking fun at our-- my-- need to check the 10-day forecast every hour to make sure nothing strange will happen. Or to amp up our excitement about the possibility of strangeness. And the disappointment this morning when it was just another cold, wet day.

This morning's devotional included this verse from the well-hidden prophet Nahum: "The Lord is good, a haven in a day of distress" (Nahum 1:7).

This week, as Thanksgiving is celebrated, let us be thankful, beyond the stuff we've been provided with, for the constant presence of God in our lives. Weather patterns and predictions will come and go, and may disappoint us by not showing up. So enjoy your Thanksgiving-- and the haven God provides-- regardless of the weather. We'll be in Bay City for a few days-- and according to my weather app, things will be sunny or partly cloudy, cool or warm.


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