“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for thou art with me,”
“I thought life was supposed to become easy when I became a Christian,” I banged the dishes on the table.
Granny never looked up from her sewing. “Why would you think that, haven’t you read the Bible?” Granny always answered my questions with a question.
“So what’s the point?” I asked. My mature wisdom at twelve even impressed me.
Granny stopped her quilting and put her small wrinkled hand on mine. “Hon, being a Christian isn’t about how we feel, it’s about what we believe.”
Granny’s words rambled through my mind all night. Tossing and turning, in my dreams, I ran from a hole that threaten to swallow me up. I woke up in a sweat the next morning.
Had my dream been an omen?
That week started like any other week for a sixth grader, school, band practice, and homework.
“Do you believe God is real?” I asked my best friend on the bus.
“Of course He’s real,” Katie said. “Why wouldn’t you believe He’s real?”
I didn’t know why, but I always felt alone. That’s why I didn’t think God was real. But I could never tell anyone how I felt, not even my best friend.
That evening the wind blew stronger than usual. The sky turned a green cabbage soup color that I had never seen before. My father paced the kitchen floor until Mama sent him outside. Something felt oddly out of place and a deafening hush fell over our woods.
I had never experience silence until that night.
“It’s coming, it’s coming,” Daddy ran inside toward the hallway knocking down the chairs tucked under the kitchen table.
The silence disappeared.
A terrifying howl paralyzed me. The ground heaved, our home shuttered, and groaned. I remembered my dream and thought about the hole swallowing us up. A sharp crack of lightening and a splitting explosion threw me from the couch. Making it to the hallway, I looked back at the home I loved.
Will I ever see it or my family again? I wondered.
Mama screamed, my little sister cried, and Daddy moaned words I couldn’t understand. Our house became a living creature moving, inhaling, exhaling, trembling beneath the monster of air. Psalm 23 began to play over and over in my head. I repeated it out loud. I said the Lord’s Prayer, I cried out to God to make it all stop.
And suddenly it did.
The storm destroyed most of our farm, but my family was alive. I silently thanked God and vowed never to take our relationship for granted again. God had answered my prayers that dreadful night and I never doubted his existence again.
I knew I wasn’t alone, nor would I ever be again.
Jasper County News (April 30, 1980)
Revised Standard Version (1952)