Since my injury I have spent a lot of time with my leg propped up with ice on my knee. Before the doctors perform surgery they want to get the swelling down, so for the past week I haven’t moved around a whole lot. Needless to say I have had a lot of time to sit and think, just my thoughts and I.
On a deserted island my thoughts and I sit, with a small coffee table in the middle of a forked trail with two paths. There is a kettle of coffee in the middle of the rickety warped wooden table where three coffee mugs sit in front of three old wooden chairs. Above, the skies are filled with dark clouds. The smell of rain fills my nostrils and I can taste the saltiness of the air. A beach is near. I can hear the distant crashing of the waves and the wind is beginning to whip across my face. I can see the brilliant flashes of lightning jumping from earth to sky, dancing across the clouds while speaking in a thunderous voice that I cannot understand, but I know what it says.
From the skies, the lightning speaks with thunder distantly proclaiming.
“A storm is coming.”
My thoughts and I sit at the rickety coffee table, just the three of us with only a kettle of coffee for separation. Across from me sit two beautiful women; actually the word beautiful doesn’t suffice, beautiful is an understatement. These women are mesmerizing, they are radiant, they are hypnotic. They begin to introduce themselves to me. As the first begins to speak and extend her hand for an introduction she is interrupted by the second woman who shows a gleaming perfect smile and says, “Hi Baron, my name is Doubt.”
Doubt is stunning. She has long red hair, and wears heavy makeup. Her eyes draw me in immediately almost as if she can peer into my soul and see my thoughts and fears. My heart begins to race as I can feel all of my anxieties and fears being drawn from my deepest depths to my surface. I begin to panic but can’t look away. She is too enticing.
I feel a gentle touch on my forearm and immediately my fears, worries and anxieties subside. I break away from Doubt’s gaze and look to my right to see an outstretched hand. I grab hold and another woman introduces herself to me. “Hello Baron, I’m Faith.”
Faith looks much different than Doubt but is just as gorgeous. Faith has long dark hair that flows over her shoulders. She wears a white dress and cowboy boots. She has glasses and doesn’t wear makeup because she has nothing to hide; her skin is flawless. Her eyes are calming but her touch is what is indescribable. There is nothing like touching Faith.
As I sit with Doubt and Faith at the tiny wooden, rickety, warped table with only a coffee kettle in between us, I ask, “Why am I here?”
Doubt sits down her coffee mug with her thick red lipstick stuck to it and swallows before speaking.
“Look around you. Can’t you see that a storm is coming?” She says.
“Yes I can see that.”
“Well you have to choose who you are going to set sail with,” Doubt hastily replies.
“Set sail?” I ask.
“Yes, set sail! The storm is coming and we have to hurry. If we set sail quick enough we can maneuver around the storm and escape this island. The path behind me leads to a safe place to depart and we can avoid the storm, but we have to hurry. You must decide quickly,” Doubt says with panic in her voice.
I begin to get nervous as I can see the colossal stormclouds moving closer to shore, and hear the thunder increasing. My heart begins to race.
I turn to Faith and ask, “Where does your path lead? Is it safe? Can we avoid the storm?”
Faith calmly replies, “I can’t tell you that; all I can assure you is that I can get you through the storm and to the beach on the other side.”
As I sit at the rickety coffee table, just my thoughts and I, the stormclouds begin to surround me. I can feel the rain starting to fall gently on my skin. I can hear the thunderclouds billowing their warning.
“A storm is coming.”
I know I must make a decision and make one quickly if I want to survive this storm. I look across the table at Doubt and Faith and both of them reach out their hands. I close my eyes and grab onto Faith’s hand. She holds mine tight as we get up from the tiny wooden table and walk down the path behind her chair.
As Faith calmly leads me down her path that leads to the ocean, the rain begins to pour, and the thunder begins to roar crying out, “A storm is coming, a storm is coming!”
While Faith and I walk hand in hand to the beach I ask, “Where did Doubt’s path lead?”
“You’ll see,” she replies.
Soon we emerge at the end of the path and I can see the ocean. I can also see the enormity of the storm. The storm stretches as far as I can see and I am terrified.
In my fear I turn back to run to Doubt. She said that she knew how to avoid the storm. She said she knew a safe way of crossing. As I turn to go back, I see the exit to another path that was not the one I came out of. On the exit of that path I see Doubt standing. Her makeup has washed off and she looks nothing like she did before. I call out to her over the roaring winds, “You said you had a safer way! You said that we could avoid this storm.”
Doubt says nothing. She just stands at her exit glaring at me.
I turn back to Faith and cry out with tears in my eyes, “What do I do? I can’t face this storm.”
Faith says nothing. She only extends her hand. I run towards the ocean where she is standing by a small canoe. I look down with fear at the small canoe thinking, “There is no way this will make it through this storm.”
The waves crash at our feet as Faith calmly says, “Get in and row, don’t stop until I tell you we are through the storm.”
I’m terrified, but I crawl into the tiny canoe with Faith. We begin to row. The waves toss us from left to right and up and down, but we keep rowing. The rain slaps our bodies, but we keep rowing. The thunder proclaims from the clouds, “The storm is here!” But we keep rowing. My arms begin to tire, but we keep rowing.
We row for what seems like eternity and finally the rain slows, the waves calm and the thunder echoes behind us whispering, “The storm has passed.”
I turn to Faith, exhausted from the journey, and ask, “Why did Doubt’s path lead to the same place on the beach? I thought she said she could avoid the storm.”
Faith simply shakes her head and says, “Storms aren’t sent so that we can avoid them or run from them.”
“Then why was that storm sent for me?” I ask.
“You’ll see,” Faith said.
As we keep rowing, the storm calms more and more and we begin to approach another beach. On this beach, I can see thousands of tiny dots. At first I can’t make out what they are, but as we row closer I can see that they are people — thousands and thousands of people standing at the water’s edge. As we get closer to shore, I can see the seemingly endless amount of people standing in amazement watching us row out of the storm in the tiny canoe, just Faith and I.
I look at Faith and she smiles and says, “That’s why the storm was sent.”
“I don’t get it,” I tell her.
She says, “Do you see all those people? That storm was sent for them, but you are the one who had to sail through it. You are an overcomer. Because you are an overcomer, your waters will rarely be calm. Because you are an overcomer, your life will not be easy. Because you are an overcomer, you will have to sail through storms simply so people can see that it’s possible. Because you are an overcomer, you have no choice but to overcome.
“Your storms are not for you. Your storms are not your own.”
Today, I will have surgery to fix my ACL. Since my season-ending injury about a week ago, I have realized that now more than ever I have to be strong. I have realized more and more that trials aren’t always to strengthen the person going through them, but more so to strengthen the people watching. Many times on the other side of the storm there are people that will be in awe when they see you rowing out in your tiny canoe with only Faith beside you.
My storms are not for me. My storms are not my own. I am an overcomer.