The storm before the calm - Jason A. Smith

I used to hate thunderstorms.

While some people are fascinated by lightning and heavy rains, I would hide in my room with the covers over my head until they passed.

It all started when I was little, and a storm knocked out power to my home for two hours one night.

All I could see during that time was a cloud of darkness, with my parents reduced to faint, shadowy figures.

For the next year or so, the slightest hint of rain would send me into hysterics. I saw a home video a few months ago, in which my younger self was pointing my mother to the dastardly clouds outside our house.

I was reminded of that time in my life again last week, when a strong storm blew through the Atlanta area. Although I have grown out of my childhood fear of thunder and lightning, I was not looking forward to this particular storm, for two reasons: one, I had heard rumblings indicating power would likely be lost in some locations; and two, I was home alone that night because my wife and child were out of town visiting family.

I kept a close watch on the storm's progress for as long as I could. Then, around midnight, it happened. The lights went out.

I waited a few minutes for the power to be restored, but it never came -- for seven hours straight. I know it was that long, because I was unable to sleep during that time.

Part of that was because the storm was so powerful, and part of it was because, ever since I got married, I hate sleeping alone.

As scary as the night was, however, I found myself oddly comforted. As I mentioned, my wife and baby were out of town, and were not subjected to the storm.

If my baby had been at home, the power still would have gone out, and she would have been terrified.

But, God made a way for her and her mother to avoid such a fate. He even kept me behind, so I could be a witness to His provision.

I thought about that night again this week, when I heard we would be receiving heavy rains in the area a second time.

Even though I had just gone through a long, sleepless night a few nights before, I wasn't worried. My wife and baby were home by this time, so something told me the three of us would be taken care of.

I went to bed before the rain was due to hit my house, and I have no memory of it doing so, because I slept soundly through the night.

The storm had passed, and God had provided once again.

In the wake of these storms, I cannot help being encouraged by the way God provides.

Even if my house had sustained significant damage in either of the recent storms, He is in control and would have given us what we needed.

I know there will be other storms in my life, both literal and figurative.

But, God is stronger than those storms.

Nothing escapes His notice.

And He will take care of His people.

Jason A. Smith covers government and politics for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.