Friday, January 17, 2020

in the Storm

In the Storm 

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. Psalm 107:29

“Chasing tornadoes,” says Warren Faidley, “is often like a giant game of 3D-chess played out over thousands of square miles.” The photojournalist and storm-chaser adds: “Being in the right place at the right time is a symphony of forecasting and navigation while dodging everything from softball-sized hailstones to dust storms and slow-moving farm equipment.”

Faidley’s words make my palms sweat and heart beat faster. While admiring the raw courage and scientific hunger storm chasers display, I balk at throwing myself into the middle of potentially fatal weather events.

In my experience, however, I don’t have to chase storms in life—they seem to be chasing me. That experience is mirrored by Psalm 107 as it describes sailors trapped in a storm. They were being chased by the consequences of their wrong choices but the psalmist says, “They cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm” (Psalm 107:28–30).

Whether the storms of life are of our own making or the result of living in a broken world, our Father is greater. When we are being chased by storms, He alone is able to calm them—or to calm the storm within us. Our Daily Bread for today, January 17th 2020.

What may make this verse sound familiar is because it was also a prophetic statement.  Read Matthew 8:23–27, Mark 4:35–41, and Luke 8:22–25. 

Just because someone comes to Christ, it doesn't mean they don't face the storms of life.   

Right now, I am in a few storms on various fronts.  I have family and friends facing storms.  We by no means are exempt from them just because we are His children. 

In fact we will face more of them because He told us they would be coming. 

We are a stubborn lot.  We believe we can do anything at any time, go through anything by will power alone.  This isn't exclusive to Christians.  Non-believers are exactly the same way. Why? Sin is the reason and the cause. Satan told Adam and Eve, do 'this' and you will be like God!

In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice out of His temple,
And my cry for help before Him came into His ears. Psalm 18:6

Daniel prayed 3 times a day it says.  It was confirmed that his prayers always made it to God's ears.  Jesus prays for us. He is always heard by the Father.  We are told we should pray.  This world is too much for us. 

What's so different in today's storms versus other ones in my life is that I know, I really really know Jesus is standing next to me.  

I have seen statements that go along the lines of sometimes God calms the storms and other times He lets the storms rage and calms His child. 

The poem Footprints seems to be along those lines. 

We are insatiable creatures when it comes to wanting to know how things will be better.  Afraid to take a step because we don't know what comes next. 

Jesus says trust Me.  We can do one of two things, trust Him or stay afraid to move.  Either way He's not going to leave us.  He will still find a way to work out things, but it's always better to do as He says the first time. 

I face uncertainty with great difficulty.  Much of the complexity of life I see as puzzle pieces. How does this fit and where does it go?  I have had various personality profile tests in the last 7 years.  I don't put any philosophical stock in them but in regards to their accuracy on my likes and dislikes they weren't far off.  I can tend to over analyze situations.  Rather than moving forward I fixate on the problem and earnestly seek solutions.  There's times that I don't let go and it's obvious that God had implied to let go. Then I make things more difficult. 

In the storm Jesus was asleep. The story is repeated 3 times.  He was at peace in the storm.  His trust was in the truth.  He was sent by His Father and was on a mission.  He didn't need to be concerned because it was not His time.  Sometimes in reading the Gospels we need to separate retrospect from the facts. They were written a long time after they happened.  The Disciples were still not grasping the truth of why Jesus was here yet. He told them on various occasions but it says they hadn't gotten it yet. 

We who are in Christ are on a mission too. A Great Commission. We do indeed get ourselves into situations we shouldn't. Then there's the planned situations that are part of God's plans.  Either way, our time on this Earth will not prematurely end until our mission is over.  I don't believe that there's ever been a single believer who was told "What happened? What are you doing here so early?" When they got to Heaven.  In Hell, probably it has been said quite often.  Some may say this is a grey area because of situations like suicide.  However God is NEVER surprised by anything or anyone.  Never once has He ever said anything like "Wow! I didn't see that coming!"

We may be just like the Disciples. Panicked about what's going on around us and to us.  The temptation is great. It's very great to cry out as they did. "Wake up! Don't you care that we're perishing!".

It doesn't say we won't be distressed. Read that from Psalm 18 again. "In my distress I called upon the Lord, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears."

As any child would, I cry out to my Father in Heaven.  To my Savior who sits on the Throne of Heaven.  My hope is in His deliverance, in His intervention. In His mercy.  

The storms of life will always be around you.  A better way to consider things is a tree.

A tree that faces no storms only has shallow roots.  They are not deep at all.  A real storm arises and when the winds begin to blow it uproots and is tossed around.  By facing storms, the younger the better, the roots go deeper to become an anchor against the next big storm. It may creak and bend but it doesn't give way to the storm.  It makes it stronger.   Watch a video on tree removal.  The bigger the tree the larger the involvement in removing the roots. Even if the top of the tree is gone, the roots have not gone anywhere. God can still rebuild from what's left because of the roots.

But it's so hard! Yes, it probably is.  

But I am scared! Yes, you probably are.

But I don't understand! Yes, you probably don't. 

Every one of those very valid statements is exactly what the Disciples were expressing.  Jesus didn't let them down. 

My hope is that you and I remember that we are indeed in some heavy storms.  We don't know how this will pan out. We don't see the other side.  Remembering that He promised never to leave us nor forsake us is at the core of our hope that He hears us.

I don't know how the story ends or even what the next page in the book of my life has written on it until He turns the page. 

Truth be told a human life is a cliffhanger story.  On the edge of your seat story.  We get so worked up about what happens next.  Either in anticipation or in anxiety. 

People are infinitely fascinated in what's been called "the slow motion train wreck". We fixate on a problem until we see how what's happening meets with what we believe will happen.  The Disciples were fixated on the storm. Jesus began by calming them THEN the storm.

I pray more times a day than Daniel.  I have to.  I need to.  I can't afford to trust my judgment or my wisdom.  I need His wisdom, His discernment. 

In the Storm in your life is the same Jesus that was with the Disciples.  Pray today.  Pray now.  You will be heard. 

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