Sunday, February 12, 2012

When the Storms of Life Rise...Author Rita Gerlach

A tornado near Seymour, TexasImage via Wikipedia

 A Devotional

By Guest Blogger, Author Rita Gerlach

Never would I have believed I would ever see an F-2 tornado in Maryland. Kansas and Nebraska, certainly. But in a county in Maryland made up of hills and valleys, housing developments, and the Catoctin Mountains to the west, never.

Hurricane Ivan was the strongest Atlantic hurricane of 2004, and called ‘Ivan the Terrible’. On September 16, it skirted up the eastern seaboard and struck Maryland as far inland as the Allegheny Mountains. Around five that afternoon we stood outside and watched dark gray to black clouds rotating and swirling with such great force across the sky that we could see debris in the air.

We went inside to turn on the news. I looked out our upstairs window that faced the farmer’s field across the road from our house. Not believing what my eyes were seeing, a black wall cloud deepened, and then three funnel clouds began to descend. I stood stunned as one formed into a sharp point and rapidly touched the ground. It was a mile and a quarter away, but it looked monstrous as it whirled and hissed across the field parallel to our home with winds up to 130 miles an hour. We went into the basement for safety. My heart was pounding as a prayer was uttered on my lips.

The tornado tore up the field, destroyed a barn, and ripped the roof off a farmhouse. It lifted and dissipated before reaching a housing development.

We don’t expect or welcome trouble. But the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Some people may only experience a shower or two, others thunderstorms and hurricanes, earthquakes too. I remember as a child my father lifting me up in his arms during a thunderstorm. I trembled in fear with each crash of thunder and flash of lightening. Yet, as long as Daddy kept me close, I believed I was safe.

What sustains us through the storms of life? How do we get through them when our hearts are breaking? How do we get through the hours of the day when the storms mount up against us and the winds buffet us? When we surrender the windstorms of life, our cares, our pain, our anxiety and worry, to Him, He will sustain us through the most violent of storms. Jesus stretches out his hands to us and asks us to take them, hold onto them and not let go, just as he did with Peter when he began to sink into the stormy sea. Our faith may be shaken. But his faithfulness never fails. We may not understand why the storm came, why us, why now? But He knows the answers.

After my father passed away, this verse sustained me in the midst of my grief. It did not take the pain of loosing him away. It did not remove my sadness. But it gave me hope. Hope that God will fix everything in the end.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4

Thank you Rita, that's a lovely reminder of God's abiding grace and love.
Rita Gerlach, author of Surrender The Wind
Her latest release, first in her Daughters of the Potomac series, Before the Scarlet Dawn just received a wonderful review in USA Today


Rita Gerlach has published three historical novels plus articles in Writers Gazette, Write to Inspire, Will Write 4 Food, and The Christian Communicator. She also is the editor of Stepping Stones Magazine, an online website focused on writing, marketing, and promotion for writers. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and The Western Maryland Writers Guild. She currently lives in Frederick, Maryland. See her websites at: and

— with Rita Gerlach.


  1. Thanks Rita for sharing this inspiring piece, and Debra, for posting it. Through the years, both through good and rough times, I've held onto God's hand as tight as I could. But, it's only during the past few years that I've come to realize that no matter how strong or feeble my grip might be, His hold on my hand is forever secure.

    I love the reminder that there will be no tears in heaven. Indeed, sustaining.

    I'm going to check Stepping Stones out right now :)

  2. Thanks for this lovely post. Tornadoes are an unbelievable force. I can't imagine seeing one a mile wide coming at me! Blessings!

  3. Wow. Rita, this is a beautiful devotional.

    I love to go to the beach when it's stormy, and watch the water. I always thought that was a weird kind of quirk until I realized it always gives me a feeling of peace. It took me even longer to realize the reason it gives me peace, but I finally did: God is in control and holding me close.

    Thank you so much for the reminder and for visiting with us today.

  4. Like Suzie, I am drawn to rough seas and big rolling waves on the lake. I think it's comforting in a way to know I DON'T have the ability to control anything! Weather is a definite reminder.

    Thanks for being our guest today, Rita.
    I'm so excited for your great review in USA Today. Congratulations on that and blessings on the entire series.

  5. Lovely post, Rita. Tornadoes can be so scary! I'm glad you're safe, and that we always have a God watching out for us.

  6. Thanks for your devotional, Rita. What a powerful post! Tornadoes (and hurricanes and earthquakes) are strong reminders that we're small, and we aren't in control. Praise God that He is!

    Congratulations on your awesome review in USA Today!

  7. Thank you, ladies. In these difficult times we live in, hold onto Revelation 21:4.


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