My eyes routinely shifted to the laptop screen, where little red icons showed several confirmed tornadoes. Red light emitted from the weather radio, and words scrolled across the screen declaring "Tornado watch." One child lay asleep in his bed, and the other curled close to my chest, hugged by a woven wrap. Refreshed from a lengthy walk outside-which we took between downpours of rain-I put away dishes, picked up the floor. Watched a few episodes of Parks & Recreation. Looked over at the weather radar again.
Tornado watches are interesting. I am typically laid-back about them. Just because there's a "watch" doesn't mean that a tornado will come barreling through! If there's a "watch" going, we still live our normal lives: we play outside, walk in the park, do chores around the house. Yet (and this is probably because I'm not from the Midwest, and I don't stand outside and watch dark swirling clouds like some people who live out here), I try to be more aware than usual. I keep my ears open for the beep of the weather radio. I frequently check the weather forecast. I make sure that a couple different items-fan, books, food-are on hand in case we need to take refuge in our storm shelter. I keep my phone close by so that I can communicate with my husband.
A tornado watch doesn't mean that a tornado will come. In our case this week, a tornado swirled in a part of town close to us, but thankfully went around our area. But still, even if a tornado doesn't come, even if-as I watch people jogging in the park, fishing in the creek, and gathering from graduation parties-the sky is blueish-gray and birds are singing, I am still alert.
During our tornado watches this week, I found myself coming back to Scripture: "Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. " (1 Peter 5:8)
Are we truly vigilant when it comes to spiritual matters? As we live in the present moment, in this beautiful but broken world, are we alert to the ways in which the devil tempts us? Are we watchful, aware of what distracts us from the path of holiness and the gaze of God? And do we act accordingly?
We don't need to be anxious or paranoid, but trusting in the mercy and love of God, we still need to be alert. As I tossed together a pan of fried rice, my husband and toddler cleaned out the storm shelter, and I wondered: What would it look like if we took our mental awareness of tornado season and applied it to the spiritual life?