In the Midst of a Storm
In the Greenville, SC area, we have been experiencing a frenzy as people do their “bread and milk” runs, and in this case, “water” runs. Bottled water right now is a valuable commodity with only a slim chance of finding some in any store. Yes, we are getting prepared for a hurricane that is powerful, unpredictable, and producing fear in the hearts of residents who are 400 miles away from the Eastern coastline—not to exclude the many visitors we have who evacuated their homes in Florida or other coastal regions. Hurricane Irma is a serious threat–a storm that is sure to change many lives.
Isn’t that what storms do? Change our lives…often bringing an increasing level of fear even before the storm arrives. Even with preparation and plans made for the what-if’s, storms can get under one’s skin. When the storm hits full force, the prep time is over. You are in it, and there is no way out; it’s time to face reality and weather the storm. Our safe and ordered routines may be altered. We begin to feel powerless because many times a storm is not always something we have the power to change. Storms can be relentless, creating havoc and causing the human spirit to wear down, particularly if the storm continues longer than expected and does not run its course as forecast. Unfortunately, not all storms can be predicted by meteorologists. Many storms are emotional or relational and can erupt so unexpectedly; you can be in a storm surge before you know what hit. I literally freeze-up with that kind of onslaught. An emotional turmoil may be hidden inside, but it takes time for my words or any action to transpire. On the opposite end of the spectrum are those people who immediately blow up, usually regretting their actions later.
How do we weather the storms of life? God is not surprised by them. Should we be? The book of James in the New Testament begins with an introductory greeting “when troubles (or storms) of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” Life is not about being pain-free. So how do we find joy or peace within the storms that disrupt our lives or cause us to feel like we are broken into shattered pieces that can’t be repaired? How do we discover the purpose of a storm?
Lean into God – acknowledge Him and ask for His protection and wisdom; He is with you
Listen for His voice – pray and communicate; He hears your cries
Learn from the storm – allow hardships to become times of learning perseverance; He wants to guide you
So where does the peace come from? I believe it is knowing that we have a God who loves us in the midst of any storm…even when tragedy strikes and we do not understand the why’s. It is in knowing that His GRACE is sufficient for us—GRACE found in His presence, in His words, and in His guiding love. It’s also found in the moments we may want to give up when fighting the raging winds or the torrents of rain or the angry words that continue relentlessly, but if we can grasp hold of a small sliver of that GRACE reaching down to us in our cry for help, there is hope. God uses stormy moments, even in the lives of unbelievers, to draw Himself close and soften hearts. That’s why it is so important as believers to pray for those who are going through a storm or enduring the aftermath of a storm. Hope may come in the act of another human being reaching out in sacrificial love because he/she saw a need. In times of terrible tragedy, the human spirit is often spurred to action. I believe at that point we can become the hands and feet of Jesus.
I have never been in a hurricane before, but I have walked through other trials in my life. Even though temporary, storms can cause me to be disheartened, disillusioned and disarrayed. For me, peace only comes as I humble myself into the hands of my Creator–not with all the answers I need to understand the “whys” but with the peace that gives me a strength, knowing I am not alone in the battle and believing with His help I can take one step forward and then another. After a storm, there may be much clean-up in the aftermath. That’s when I look back and realize that my life has been changed for the better as God used that particular storm to teach me important character-building lessons and spiritual truths.
Instead of facing storms with fearful hearts, let’s try finding the GRACE God has for us as He walks through the storm with us. Then take a step further and reach out to someone else who is going through a personal storm or natural disaster, showing them GRACE for their pathway ahead.
Blessings for protection and God’s GRACE through the storms of life. Just Kathy