Archive | November, 2013

Storms…

10 Nov

Have you ever been confronted with a storm? I’m not talking a literal storm; I’m thinking more of an emotional storm. Life seems to be going along just fine and then something changes – it could be any number of things – loss of a job… a friend moves away… a test result comes back and the news isn’t good – the list is endless.

Recently for me it was the last one, a call from home to tell me a family member had been given a nasty diagnosis. I don’t know what your experience was like (if you’ve had something like this), but for me it was like someone had kicked me in the guts. I felt physically sick, the whole world tilted for a while and I wondered – will it ever tilt back? Has my normal now changed? It was like walking into a storm, I felt buffeted by wind, thrown out of the boat into the waves until I wondered which way was up. For a couple of days vague seemed normal, sleep an elusive dream, and my eyes just seemed to keep leaking… It started me thinking, and praying and I’ve done a lot both since then.

It has me wondering… What if life is meant to be about the storms? I think some of life’s biggest lessons are learned in a storm. I mean, how much faith does it take to believe that life will be good when life is indeed good? Doesn’t it take more faith to believe that life can still be good even when our circumstances seem to tell us the opposite?

Being a Christian doesn’t mean I’m exempt from heartache, after all I think you find the following in the Bible: In this world we WILL have trouble… BUT take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33). Maybe storms are a faith building exercise. Something designed to actually do us good… an interesting thought but one that I think has a decent base given that God works together for the good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). That leads me to believe that even storms can be good.

Now I’m no theologian (as you will no doubt already have worked out), but I started to think about storms and wondered how God handled storms. Here are a couple of things that came to mind:

  • Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping (Matt 8:24). Jesus can sleep in storms? Seriously? When there is a furious storm Jesus can sleep?! Does that mean when we’re in a storm he’s disinterested? I doubt it. Maybe it means something else… like he knows the storm is rough but it’s just for a time? Or he knows at any time he can command the storm to be still – that the storm actually has no authority on its own. It also highlights to me that when in the midst of a storm Jesus is at peace – worry, fear and anxiety have no place – now that’s the kind of experience I want during a storm!
  • Or how about Peter walking on water – the boat was a way out from shore, buffeted by wind and the waves, but when Peter got out of the boat, and fixed his eyes upon Jesus he was able to walk on water – until he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. Jesus reached down to catch him, took his hand, rescued him and when they climbed back into the boat the wind died down (Matt 14:22-33). What can I learn from this? Maybe I can take my eyes off the storm and look at the one who has authority over the storm – seems to me like when we do that we can do anything – walking on water is pretty impressive, so who’s to say we can’t do amazing things too??

One thing that has amazed me though is when I do focus on the one who has authority over the storm I can actually find peace. In Philippians 4:6-7 it says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. This is so true – how one can be peaceful in a storm defies human logic – but I can assure you, that peace can be found! Since that phone call I’ve spent a lot of time praying (more than I used to) and I’ve found this to be true – I do feel at peace, even in the storm. Because do you know what? God hasn’t changed – He’s the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) – so if he was good before the phone call, he’s still good after the phone call. He’s healed in the past, so he can heal today and in the future. While I don’t know what the future holds this I know for sure – we are engraved on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16), God’s plans are that we prosper, that we are not harmed, and that we  have a hope and a future (Jer 29:11). I choose to believe in the midst of this storm I’m not alone, and if I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus we can see miracles happen and even in the storm we can be at peace.

So what happens after the storm?

I don’t know about the storms you have, but in Queensland they are often accompanied by life giving rain and that results in luscious gardens and beautiful flowers. I wonder… could God be watering our garden so that from this storm we can bloom?

 

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