A sweet friend emailed me yesterday asking if I was okay. I haven’t been blogging lately, which is very unlike me.
She asked if I was having problems because of the storm. As you may know, Tropical Storm Isaac blew past us a couple of weeks ago. Unlike the damage that hit states like Louisiana, we didn’t have too much trouble. A lot of rain, a lot of tree branches down, power outages, but life pretty much went on as usual. No, I thought, I haven’t had any storm trouble.
But, as I thought a bit more, I had to be honest with myself. The truth is, I’ve been going through some “storms” lately, and yes, in fact, they have been causing me problems. Some of the storms have been of my own making, others have come from 'outside'. Some storms have been personal, others related to my ministry.
Last night we had another strong thunderstorm (a real one). Loud thunder, flashing lightning, lots of driving rain. I didn’t have much food in my home, but instead of venturing out to the store, I stayed in, making do with what I had. It meant a less-than-satisfactory dinner, but I stayed safe and dry. (I’m hoping today is a sunny day, as I really do need to get some food!)
My desire to stay safe and dry plays out in the other kinds of storms in my life, too. When there are conflicts and frustrations, hurts and confusion, my natural tendency is to stay in and not venture out. Of course, I still go about my life – working, interacting, doing what needs to be done.
But, I find myself becoming emotionally and even spiritually closed off. How are you doing? Fine, thanks. I tell this lie to others, to myself, even to God. I fool myself, pretending I can make do with my few pitiful reserves until the storm blows over. Of course, even when it does, there’s always another one coming!
Storms are not fun. But, we are called to go out into them. The world needs to see Christ-followers in all seasons. Not just when life is sun-shiny, but when we are barely hanging on, when the flood waters are surging around us, when there is noise and confusion on every side.
The disciples were terrified that they were going to drown. They cried out for help, and witnessed the incredible power of Jesus, as with a simple rebuke, the storm suddenly stopped. Had the storm never come, they may have felt safer, but oh, what a miracle they would have missed!
I cannot wait until I feel strong enough to face the storm. The fact is, my ‘strategy’ of trying to protect myself has the opposite effect. Each day that passes without being renewed and refreshed in Christ, I am a little weaker, a little less able to cope with thunder and lightning. It may seem safer to stay inside, to stay on the shore. But oh, what miracles have I been missing?
We are invited to be still, not in the calm, but in the storm, when the mountains are crashing into the sea and the earth is sliding out from under us. This is where we truly get to know that God is God. This is where the world can see His amazing power to save.
So, today I am praising God for my friend’s email. Her loving concern allowed me to take a hard look at what’s been happening to me. And, I am praying for the courage to step out into the wind and rain. Step out into confusion, turmoil, frustration.
Step out, not because I am strong, but because I am weak. Step out in the confidence that God will meet me, refresh me, sustain me. Step out asking Him to use my storms to demonstrate His love and power to others who feel they are drowning. Oh, Father, you are so good to me!