God's Perfect Storm



Meriam Matthews




Did you ever have a moment where everything is so perfect, so exquisite, so magnificent to all your senses that you are unexpectedly brought to tears from overwhelming joy  and gratitude? I had that moment yesterday at 6:30 pm in my kitchen, standing at the stove, looking out past my rear deck toward the distant mountains and the lake below.


God must really love me. Why He would is beyond my comprehension, but I won't question it. My senses of touch, smell, sight, taste and hearing were all supernaturally enhanced for a few precious minutes when The Perfect Storm formed in my spirit yesterday. The Perfect Storm is a term commonly used to describe hurricanes of such gargantuan perfection that it cannot help but be a disaster.


But this Perfect Storm wasn't forming anything disastrous. It was forming a blessing from God of such magnitude and of such personal intimacy that I was rendered speechless amid tears of gratitude for God's treating me as though I deserved to be blessed at all.


For most, this particular confluence of events, compacted into a single moment, may not mean much. But for me, it was glorious in its detail because God chose many of the things I love with which to bless me: I was cooking dinner. Southern fried chicken wings, my very favorite food in the world, were sizzling in the pan, crisping up exactly as I was taught they should by an old Southern housekeeper my husband and I had when we lived in Maryland. A glass of lovely Chardonnay was at my fingertips; cooking with wine is one of my favorite things. The aroma of the chicken and the sips of wine were perfectly attuned to each other.


I put Latin music on the stereo. It's my favorite kind of music. I cannot explain this oddity because I'm not of Latin extraction, but ever since childhood, Latin music has stirred something very deep in my soul that takes over my movements as though the percussion and the notes themselves are alive. The music, turned up loud, had me dancing around the stove, tongs in hand. My husband, sweetly dancing with an invisible partner while I cooked, was enjoying the music, too. We were not inebriated in the least, I swear. The music was the sound track from my favorite of all the ballroom dancing films, "Dance With Me". Ballroom dancing, just coincidentally, is my favorite kind of dancing.


I looked up from the stove to the view directly in front of me: the deck was festooned with half-barrels and boxes of brightly colored flowers red, yellow, white, green, orange, blue, deep purple -- a rainbow of color every few feet. We love flowers, God's bits of artistry planted in the same soil He breathed life into at Creation.


There were two bright yellow male goldfinches and one lesser-colored female on the feeder,  and one lone male cardinal who was so bright red, he seemed to be lit from within. Three rose-breasted crossbills, unusual birds, chirped happily as they munched. A lone jewel-green hummingbird skimmed our geraniums only to discover they were not the nectar-kind, so he moved on. Only since moving here to Lake Toxaway have we come to love birds. Born a big city girl, I never appreciated birds very much. But now, our feathered charges, in an array of confetti colors, have become part of our mountain family. They give us great joy every day.


The sky was busily pocked with large and small clouds on an impossibly blue background. I learned that around these parts it's called "Carolina blue". No other blue compares. There were puffy clouds, stripey clouds, some bright white, some with edges of light gray. They were everywhere.


The day was clear and the mountains in the distance poked up like popcorn as the setting sun dappled and moved across them in constantly moving patterns of light and dark green and all shades of green in between. It's hard to believe there are so many shades of green. God's palette seems unlimited. Patches of green moved about like spotlights over the mountains as the sun began to set behind me. My eyes beheld the unmistakable glory of God in a way some people will never see. Or notice. I wish I could have shared the moment with the world.


At that moment, in single packet of time in late June of Two-Thousand Eight, God blessed me with all the things I love; certain foods, certain wine, mountains, brightly-colored birds and flowers, a stunning lake, my favorite music. My husband's hand rested on my shoulder as he realized the moment was special because I couldn't speak, I could only weep. All my senses were somehow overloaded, magnified, as I experienced God's generosity and His love within this experience of sheer bliss. Here is the "peace that passes all understanding". This was the perfect blessing, a Perfect Storm of God's grace. And it was tailor-made just for me. His presence was palpable.


The moment was a powerful message that He knows everything about me, knows what I love, knows the little things that make me joyful. And He gave it all to me at once, for His own reasons, in one single brief moment out of time.


Moments like these are rare, when everything comes together with such utter perfection. Only God could have done it. It was enough to evoke tears, to make me glorify His name over and over again, and to marvel at His lovingkindness.


Why me? I am blessed beyond anything I could have done to deserve it. My cup surely runs over. This Perfect Storm was an act of sheer grace, the giving of a monumental blessing not because I deserve it or have done a thing to merit it, but because God chose at that moment to shed his grace on me for reasons I shall never comprehend. It wasn't the first time. It won't be the last.


It was sheer grace, nothing more. But certainly, nothing less.