Peace amidst the storm: What Typhoon Haiyan taught me about God

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I was living in the Philippines when Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Typhoon Yolanda by the locals, hit the country in January of 2014. This was not the first typhoon I had lived through, but in my five years in the Philippines I had never experienced something of this magnitude. It was a Category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale – the strongest and most destructive rank a storm can get.

Though I was blessed to live in a well-built house that saw minimal damage from the storm, I remember being scared that night. I was awakened by the sound of the wind howling and the tree branches swaying. I did not know this at that time, but a lot of that noise came from trees falling and roofs flying – a dramatic scene, the effects of which I witnessed the next morning. One of the most distinctive sounds, however, was the torrential pour of rain hitting against the roofs and windows. It was as if the sky was at war and the raindrops were its drummers announcing attack.

When I think of this typhoon, it makes sense why we often compare the trials of our lives to a storm. We can feel so insignificant and powerless in the middle of these obstacles. We wonder if the howling of the wind will ever stop or if the downpour of rain will ever cease. It can be scary, because like the trees falling and the roofs flying, we don’t know what to expect when we go out the next morning.

But, on the night of the typhoon, I learned something new – something beautiful.

As I laid scared on my bed, my dad came to check on me. I don’t recall exactly what my father said, but I know that his presence calmed me down. As long as he was there, I knew that everything was going to be okay. I knew that he would do everything in his power to keep me and my brothers safe. I had nothing to fear; the sound of his voice turned the violent howls of the wind into gentle whispers.

I don’t know what kind of trial you are trying to overcome right now. I do not know what winds are threatening to push you over. But I do know this: We serve a God who can calm the storm. Just like the presence of my father made me feel safe, God wants to bring you peace in your times of tribulation. The roaring thunders and growling tempest are merely background noise amidst the soft voice of his companionship. The destruction we fear is nothing compared to the safety he wants to offer us. You are not alone in the storm. He is in control, and He is here to provide you harmony as you get through these trials.

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