"An Inside Perspective"

November 2011


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
When I was twelve my family moved from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. My parents bought a house two houses from the beach and, as a young man, that is where I grew up. Having been raised as a kid in Pennsylvania, I was already a hunter and a fisherman, and now living on the beach, I quickly became an adept surfer.

As an avid surfer, learning meteorology was a natural progression. The science of weather, with all of its finicky patterns and the waves it produced, now had my full attention. Waves and their sizes and shapes are all based on weather patterns; therefore I delighted to study it.

I learned for instance that in the United States most weather moves generally from west to east, with an occasional south to north trajectory, even as it is moving east. Therefore whatever is in the Midwest today, you can generally expect to come in this direction in 24-48 hours. I observed that the wind in storms blows counter-clockwise. When you live on the shore and a big storm is running up the coast from the south it is called a nor’easter. Even though its approach is from the south, the wind itself, rotating counter-clockwise, comes at you from the northeast, and thus the moniker, nor’easter.

This is also called an onshore wind because it is blowing from the ocean onto the shore. It usually creates very gnarly conditions which surfers call “sloppy.” It is not very surfable, albeit, many including myself have ventured out into it just for the fun of it. On the east coast, outside of the occasional hurricane, the nor’easter is the wave-maker.

Now watch this. As the center of the storm passes by and moves out to sea, the winds shift to westerly. This is called an offshore wind because it blows from the land out to the ocean. Usually they are strong, gusty and blow straight out to sea. A direct offshore wind, after a nor’easter, is the holy grail of surfing.

The reason is that when the offshore wind hits the sloppy conditions created by the onshore wind, it “cleans it up.” Surfers would say, “It dresses the waves up and makes the incoming swell orderly, thus producing long swell lines with hollow curls at the end.” Surfers may say among themselves with great excitement, “Look, it is corduroy to the horizon!” This is the ultimate in surfing conditions.

I started out talking about the weather because I was trying to make a point! As your keen observation may have detected, though, I suffer from R.T.D. If you have not heard of it, allow me to elucidate. This condition is the latest in the recent onslaught of disorders. I have dubbed it Rabbit Trail Disorder, because I simply cannot stay on the subject! ?

Really though, my point in all this weather business is that I also learned how to spot rainbows. Did you know, meteorologically speaking, that there is a particular place where a rainbow will occur, and that, with specific conditions? When the sun peeks through any rainstorm, while it is still raining, always look in the opposite direction of the sun and there will be your rainbow. I see rainbows fairly regularly because I know where and when to look for them. Most people rarely, if ever, see one, and then only by accident, because they don’t know how to look. Now you know, so check it out!

Well, I say all that to say this. The other day I was in my cell and the conditions were perfect for a rainbow. I was leaning on the open window and gawking hard outside, but I just couldn’t see where I needed to see. I knew there was a rainbow there but I was unable to see it because I was locked in my cell!

I just fell back on my bed in frustration and it all came closing in on me. With tears in my eyes I thought in my heart, “How long, Lord, how long...isn’t 20 years 4 months enough?!? What about all the other things I can’t see, Lord?” I never uttered a word; I only thought it in my heart. I was having a “poor me” moment. Ever had one? Of course you have, we all have.

As I lay there pouting, the rain unbeknownst to me had gathered in the five slots of my louver-type window. At the same time, the sun hit my window and shone into my cell as it always does that time of day. Suddenly, much to my amazement and joy, there appeared five perfect rainbows shimmering on my floor as the sun shone through the trapped water in the louvers!!

I was speechless and all I could do was take off my shoes! I will never forget it. It was pregnant with the Presence of the Lord. It was my “still small voice.” It was as if the Lord said, “Philip, you are bound by your cell, I am not. You think you know right where to look, but I am The Weatherman. I have not forgotten you.” I was instantly refreshed and revived.

It is written, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God.” (Lk. 12:6) Beloved, don’t pout, the Lord has not forgotten you, either. Are you having a “poor me” moment? Are you perhaps suffering from Christian R.T.D.? Maybe your walk is a little sloppy right now, even gnarly. Be encouraged, beloved. If you look very closely, the Lord has . . .