I moved to north Idaho about 7 years ago. One of the first things we heard was ' if you don't like the weather in north Idaho, wait an hour and it will change.' We thought it was a joke at first but sure enough, we witnessed many times that a summer day could start out sunny and brilliant – theh suddenly storm clouds roll in and a fierce thunderstorm will rain down hard with winds and hail. An hour later, we are back to smooth sailing and brilliant sunshine.
Speaking of smooth sailing, don't you love it when life is like that? Calm. No surprises. Controllable. Easy. If only it was like that all the time. But sometimes God will allow a storm cell to rush into our lives. Bad things happen to good people and we are always wondering why. Why do we battle cancer? Why do people suffer financial devastation? Why do tornado's rip apart a family's life.... hitting one house but not another? Why, why, why.
Walking through this 8 yearlong storm in our lives (yes sometimes He allows them to last this long) I've learned some things while being lost at sea or wandering through deserts. Here are just some of them:
1. Storms test the reliability of our foundations. God allows us to be tested to strengthen our foundations. What DO we hold onto when the winds of life blow? Do we hold on to what man holds tightly or do we grip harder to the hem of Jesus' garment? When the storm lashes at our foundations do they stand the test or do they crumble and wither? Storms test the reliability of our foundations. If God finds our foundation wanting, he will rebuild it. Sometimes we must hit rock bottom to finally build a firm foundation!
2. Storms bring forth new growth. In our spiritual lives, chaff grows with the grain and protects it. It has a purpose. But when it is time to harvest the pure grain, the chaff must be beaten away from the grain and it falls to the threshing floor and is then burned away. When the wind blows, what we are made of is tested as it clings to the reed while the chaff, which lacks substance, falls to the ground revealing the quality grain. So it is with us when winds of fury blow upon us. God desires to rid us of everything we depend upon and to reveal the substance of new, pure grain of the spirit in our lives. Without the threshing of the wind the chaff would hang on and stunt future growth.
3. God uses storms and desert wandering to purify us. We do not always realize that a part of us is sick or diseased. Most people who are diagnosed with cancer are surprised to find they have it growing large inside. God, who is our great physician, sees and knows all. He will take advantage of the storms of life set upon us to reveal disease and weakness in our hearts and spirits. If we give him access he will burn off and cut away that which is diseased. Or like a grape vine whose vine was headed the wrong direction, he will grab hold and set us aright with him. And like the grain and the chaff, God will burn away the chaff leaving behind nothing but purity.
4. We learn to depend upon God for everything. We live in a society, which dances to the beat of self-dependence and self-reliance. In this last generation, it’s been all about “me”. A struggle is always active in a Christian believers life to take self off the throne and allow Christ to sit on the throne! When life's unfair blows hit us, like knocking a baby out of a chair; IF we allow God to, he will rush in and be our all in all. Like a good mother he will pick us up and provide us with all that we have need of...according to his plan and time frame.
I realize looking back, while I loved my God and was passionate about him before, right now – at the end of this journey, I am more dependent upon him than ever before! I've had to depend upon him for survival physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
5. God reveals Himself in the Storm. Hasn't he always? I am reminded as I write this; Jesus set the example for us in person. Remember out on the Sea of Galilee when the storm hit the boat of his disciples? Jesus was not with them and they were so afraid. The storm was literally threatening to capsize them. They cried out and appearing across the water was their Savior! Jesus asked Peter to come across the stormy sea to him. With great faith, in spite of the storm's fury, peter climbed out of the boat and began to walk on top of the water toward Jesus. The lesson is right here...when a storm hits we can EXPECT Jesus to show up! He is faithful to respond. In these 8 years of being tossed at sea – I can tell you that God appeared over and over again. Money from nowhere, favor with others, food, etc. I think of the Israelites and their journey through the desert. Before they were set free, they knew of God but had not EXPERIENCED God! But wandering in their desert they received water from a rock, manna from heaven, instruction etc. Seeing the mighty hand of God move...is precious and priceless.
If you are sailing through a storm or wandering through a dry desert, remember to make the Lord Almighty your companion. Call upon his name and I promise he will answer you! Keep a journal of your journey so later- perhaps when another storm hits, you'll be able to look back and be reminded of the mighty God who is with you. And know this...good will come of the storm.
I love this scripture for it is so true. It says...
“he brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay. And set my feet upon a rock (a firm foundation) and established my coming and goings. And hath put a new song in our mouth, even praise unto our God”! Psalm 40:2,3
Do you see what this means? It is Gods solemn vow to you. It is GOD who will rescue you! He will bring you up out of the horrible pit and set your feet upon a firm foundation! The new song in your heart will be the praise and thanksgiving of his miraculous interventions. Readily I say to you sister, you are not alone!
Be blessed! Your deliverer cometh!
Dori Cass is a wife of 29 years and mom to two adult children. She has spent her adult life active in Womens, Children's and Youth ministry. One of her favorite ministries has been the ongoing shepherding and mentoring of a group of almost 30 yr old women who were part of her girl's group 15 years ago. Join Dori as she draws from her pool of experiences as she testifies to what God has done and is still doing. You can find her blog at http://heavensconfetti.blogspot.com/