Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Trust’

I had a bad travel day this week.  What was supposed to be 8 hours of travel from a worksite to home became a 28-hour ordeal.  Three canceled flights coming out of one airport, the last one after I had only gotten a little sleep in order to be at the airport at 5:15 am for my trip home, left me pretty frustrated.  As I road in the taxi for the 1-1/2 hr trip to a different airport to wait 5 hours for a flight that hopefully would get me home, I admit I was throwing a pity party in my mind in my own honor.

At the airport I waited until a little after 7 to awaken my wife with a phone call for our morning conversation and devotion.  She didn’t realize immediately that I wasn’t supposed to be talking to her at that moment because I was supposed to be in the air heading home.  However, her sympathy and encouraging words, began the process of getting my mind right.  When she read the devotion from Jesus Always by Sarah Young though, that is when the Lord really lifted me up.  It was a reading inspired for that moment.  I’m convinced He does this often if we are open to it.  I have included a picture of the devotion below.  The gist was that God is with us at all times and we can trust Him at all times –  in the good times and the bad times. 

Well friends, that reading was like the sunshine breaking through after 5 days of rain and overcast skies.  While I was still about 12 hours from getting home, I knew the Lord was present and that His love was real and tangible.

As I boarded my first flight 5 hours later, I followed a petite young lady down the jet bridge.  I didn’t realize it yet, but Miss K was to be my seat mate.  On recent trips, I have rued the fact that no one chats on flights anymore.  It had been a long time since I had a good conversation on one of my flights.  The ever present and attention-sucking smart phone is one of the primary reasons.  And I can be just as bad as anyone.  Thankfully… in fact providentially, our trip was not one of those trips. 

Almost immediately after sitting down, Miss K expressed exasperation that she had left her book in the bag she gate-checked.  So instead of reading we began to chat.  Another confession on my part, in some instances I look to use conversations to share God stories.  I know that some of the miraculous things God has done in our life is for encouraging other people.  However, I am also aware I can “force” things and it is so much better to allow the Lord to lead the conversation.  Well that is exactly what happened this day. 

Miss K shared that she was considering going back to school for a career change.  It was casual conversation and I did not pick up that there was a problem or issue driving this.  As she was sharing a scripture came strongly to mind. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6

I shared that with her and then the natural flow of the conversation caused me to share how the Lord had faithfully guided me through a job change that occurred over a period of 15 months.  Now until this point I had only glanced at Miss K.  But as I neared the end of the story, I looked her in her eyes.  It was only then that I noticed the tears rolling down her face.  There was backstory for her that she had not shared.  The work situation she was in was very difficult and she was seeking the Lord’s guidance in what to do.  Of course as she shared, now I began feeling wetness on my cheeks.   A few moments later I started laughing as I realized – the Lord only had to ground three flights and to get me on this flight next to Miss K and provide exactly the right devotion to adjust my attitude so we could have this conversation.  Suddenly the unfortunate travel day had purpose…  I am so thankful that the Lord gave Miss K what she needed.  I am totally confident He will lead her into her next steps.  I am also thankful to know that when things don’t go my way, I can lean into God’s faithful, ever-present love and know He is working things out for good.

This morning as I type on my back porch with the sun just rising and the birds singing songs of praise to the Creator, My heart is overflowing with gratitude that the Lord loves us and He is infinitely trustworthy.  Whether things are going well or they are far from “perfect”,

He is there,

He loves us,

He is in control,

and we can trust in Him.

Be blessed today my friend and be a blessing.

April 28 Devotion

 

Read Full Post »

I am a grandfather.  We have three beautiful grandchildren with a fourth on the way.  Friday night we got to spend time with our daughter-in-law and her three children.  Watching the two older boys play and making baby talk with our 10-month old granddaughter brought joy to my heart.

The next day we traveled to our daughter and son-in-law’s home to participate in a “gender reveal” party.  Since many of their friends have children, the party had a strong child’s birthday party feel.  Running, laughing, and generally just enjoying life in the crisp fall afternoon was the order of the day for the children.

The actual gender reveal part was a big hit too.  Our daughter-in-law was the only one who knew the baby’s gender.  The night prior to the party she filled a large pumpkin with powder and then sealed it up.  At the party the thirty or so guests all selected a gender they thought the baby was.  Our son-in-law was adamant the baby was a boy.  And so did about two-thirds of the guests.  At the appointed time the pumpkin was heaved high in the air and then descended to the ground in a mighty pink clouded crash.  IT’S A GIRL!

I sense the Lord emphasizing a point for me through this fun life event, especially as I watched and played with the children.  The children were carefree. They played with exuberance.  They were not mean or manipulative.  They cared for each other and enjoyed each other’s company.  And they flitted back to a parent or other relative every now and then, but soon they were back cavorting with the other children.

Our Father wants similar for us.  Our relationship with Him can be, is meant to be, one where we live in ever increasing confidence of His love and tender care.  1 Peter 5:7 tells us to “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”  He is intimately aware and engaged in our lives.  He is big enough to help us shoulder the tough times.  He is also the Father of the Bride-Groom in the wedding feast we will one day celebrate together.  In the time until we all join in this banquet, He is our loving Father who watches over us, helps us and enjoys it as we draw closer to Him.

The Lord wants us to live fully in each day trusting Him.  There is much about each day we cannot control.  Building elaborate plans and striving to control every outcome is a fool’s game.  In fact it can be more than that, it can easily become sin.  When having our way becomes paramount, we slip off the path of faith.  We take on a role we are not meant to play.

On the other hand, the more we lean into trusting the Father and obediently following His blueprint for life found in the bible, the less we are inclined to try and make things turn out our way.  The more consistently we are able to listen to the Holy Spirit speak truth and guide us, the greater our joy and confidence become.  Proverbs 3:5 & 6 can be relied upon.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

From time to time my mind thinks forward to when we have graduated to larger life on the other side of the grave.  It looks a lot like a sun-splashed afternoon awaiting the revealing of our next grandchild’s gender.  There’s lots of laughter.  There is joyful expectation.  There is activity galore, colors rich and vivid, and heartfelt conversations all around.  And in our midst is the loving Father – adored by His multiplied children all around.

We are those children.

And it makes me smile.

Be blessed today my friend. And be a blessing.

Read Full Post »

Certain lessons seem to be particularly important for me to “get” because they are being reinforced  almost weekly.  Last week an exclamation point was made on the lesson – “It may not be what you expect, but trust Me, My plan is better!”

We visited our two married daughters over the course of last week.  Rhiannon and Jeff in Chattanooga Thursday – Sunday morning and then Christin and Michael in Elizabethton Sunday – Tuesday.  Everything went pretty much like we planned with Rhiannon and Jeff, but it seemed like every plan we made with Christin had to be scrapped or modified heavily.  No worries, we were just happy to be spending time together.

Monday afternoon one modified plan had us drive to the top of Roan Mountain where we enjoyed some beautiful views from the bald mountain top.  The wonderful 360 degree view had us thinking about sunrise pics over the NC mountains.  Checking the weather in Elizabethton, 20 miles away we saw that the weather report was promising and the plan was hatched.

 

Tuesday morning we arose at 4:45 am and we were headed out of town 15 minutes later.  We were excited to see a star studded sky as we rolled out of Elizabethton heading toward Roan Mountain.  Two miles from the top of the mountain was when I first noticed the moisture on the road.  A mile from the top I noticed the stiff breeze that hadn’t been present on any of our drive thus far.  Shortly thereafter wisps of cloud started sweeping across in front of the car and for the last 200 yards I had to drive at a snail’s pace into the parking lot because of the thick fog.

We were still an hour before sunrise.  I am quite used to fog.  But fog is usually stationary settling into the low areas on windless mornings.  On the mountaintop it was foggy with a 15 – 20 mph breeze driving it.  Undeterred we gathered camera, tri-pod, flashlights and goody bag and headed up the 3/4 mile hike to the top of the mountain in a cold, drizzly, windy fog hoping for the best.

Roan Mountain - Fog and Rainbows-1-4

This is about 15 minutes before sunrise and we were beginning to think the sun may not actually burn through the fog like we were hoping.

Roan Mountain - Fog and Rainbows-2-4

This is when you kinda wished you hadn’t been told about the number of bear sightings up on the mountain.

Roan Mountain - Fog and Rainbows-3-4

Inside the woods the wind was blocked and it was eerily peaceful.

That breeze that we experienced in the Parking Lot was a foretaste and not the real deal.  We broke out of the woods about half way to the top and realized that the exposed mountain bald seemed to increase the wind intensity by at least a factor of two.

We made it to the top of the mountain, thankful that we had also been there the day before so we recognized some rock outcroppings as landmarks.  We hunkered down behind a rock for a bit hoping the clouds would clear and we would get some sunrise shots.  But while the clouds around us brightened as sunrise arrived the wind didn’t let up and the fog never thinned.

Roan Mountain - Fog and Rainbows-2

The view right at sunrise… at least according to our watch.

Since we had been to the mountain the day before, we knew that amazing panoramic views existed from right where we were huddled.  Yet the wind, fog, and rain made it difficult to remember just how beautiful it was.  I was struck with how graphic an illustration that is of the impact of trials in our life.  When life is good it’s easy to see God’s hand at work.  But when trials press upon us it often becomes much harder to discern God’s actions on our behalf.  It is in these times that our faith is stretched.  Holding onto the reality that we have previously experienced – God’s faithful provision, is just like remembering the mountain view we had seen the day before.  We may not see it at the moment, but we know it exists.  Our task is to remember and wait for the reality to be revealed again.

We slowly made our way back down to the car and then headed back down the mountain.  A deer  came up beside us on the road and we slowed to let it pass.  A mile down the road we were out of the fog.

As we progressed down the mountain we saw sunshine followed by a brief rain shower.  The thought passed through my mind, “Sun and rain, I wonder if there’s a rainbow somewhere?”  Through a break in the trees just prior to the final overlook I could see a shower in the valley beside the mountain and a slight brightening where the sun was trying to break through.  As we rounded the curve at the final overlook this is the view that we saw.

Roan Mountain - Fog and Rainbows-11

We were shocked by how quickly this rainbow appeared.

Roan Mountain - Fog and Rainbows-12

The colors were vibrant and yet it was continually shifting from a single to a double and from a full to a partial rainbow.

Roan Mountain - Fog and Rainbows-13

For a few seconds it formed a full rainbow… and we just happened to be in the right spot to catch it in all it’s glory.

Roan Mountain - Fog and Rainbows-14

We couldn’t quite tell if the pot of gold was in that little barn or the orchard beside it.  What we knew for a certainty was that our Heavenly Father was enjoying our laughter and celebration with us as we alternately uttered words of praise and gasps of wonder while we snapped pics.

Roan Mountain - Fog and Rainbows-15

The double rainbow was fleeting, but we saw it come and go two or three times in then 3 – 5 minutes the rainbow was visible.

Roan Mountain - Fog and Rainbows-16

Looking toward the sun… and giving praise to the Son.

Roan Mountain - Fog and Rainbows-17

The final pic as the shower ceased and the rainbow quickly faded.

The entire rainbow celebration lasted less than 5 minutes, but a number of things stood out to me.

  • We had to make the journey to be able to see the rainbow.  We didn’t know the rainbow was the purpose and penultimate pic of the trip, but our Father did.
  • We tarried in the dark, in the rain, in the wind, in the fog, and ultimately made close to a 2 mile hike seemingly in a lost cause, but God had a better plan.
  • We had to be in exactly the right spot AND at exactly the right time to see and enjoy the rainbow like we did.  If we had rushed at any point in the morning’s journey we would have missed it.
  • Our response to seeing the rainbow was pure wonder, celebration, and thankfulness to our gracious heavenly Father for this simple, but beautiful blessing.  And I believe He enjoyed it as much as we did.

Finally I remember where God first introduced the rainbow to His creation.  It’s in Genesis chapter 9:12-17.  And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.  Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.  Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

We didn’t get what we expected, but what we got was so much better.

And that’s just the way God is with His children.

Be blessed today and be a blessing!  If you like this, please share it with a friend.

Read Full Post »

I had the privilege of serving as a room leader at Gauntlet 2016.  In my young adult life I was a youth leader at two different churches and I even lead a diocese-wide youth event in Louisiana.  Other life demands took priority as I entered my mid 30’s so my youth leadership became focused upon coaching and a four year stint as a scoutmaster.  Gauntlet is our church’s youth camp, but it is youth camp to the extreme.  There were over 5300 youth at the Gauntlet with another 1700+ room leaders and support staff.  We descended upon Daytona Beach in 129 buses and filled 9 beach-front hotels.  And for the first time we filled the entire Ocean Center auditorium.

I intend on posting several pics and a few highlights from the week in this blog over the next few weeks.  The Gauntlet is an environment where youth and leader alike hear clear teaching on how to become a Christian and what it means to live the life God has created us for.  It provides ample opportunity to speak with caring leaders and fellow sojourners about life’s trials, challenges, failures, and triumphs in a safe place.  Within this context each person is given multiple opportunities to identify and take their next step in the faith journey of life.

This was my second time to serve.  And I almost didn’t go.  My experience the first time was enough of a challenge that I questioned whether the Lord wanted me there.  I left the date open on my calendar and I continued to ask the Lord to make it clear if I was to attend.  About 4 weeks prior the Lord gave me the nudge that I was to go and He provided two very clear instructions.  “Don’t have expectations on how your students are to respond”  and “Trust Me.”  So I signed up.  I am so glad that I did.

That I had chosen the right path was confirmed for me on the bus ride down.  Everyone traveled down in “pods” of three or four buses.  We were the first pod of buses from our campus which also happens to be the furthest from Daytona Beach.  Just outside Jacksonville the bus in front of ours broke down.  The failure on the bus disabled their air conditioning, so our bus leader asked us to make room for the folks from the other bus.  Our boys immediately moved to the back of the bus tripling up in seats or standing in the aisle.  We spent the next 3+ hours waiting on one of the other buses to complete the trip down to Daytona and then return to pick up the passengers from the disabled bus so our pod could continue.

The AC in our bus was stretched to the max with the extra body heat and the lack of air movement over the AC coils, so it was not very comfortable in the back where the boys were all scrunched together.  But during that entire time there was no whining or complaining.  The boys chatted.  I got to know several of the young men like Hawk, CJ, Bernard, Nick, Sean (or maybe Shawn), Drey, Marcelous, Dillon, and others.  For three hours we sweated together, watching bus after bus pass us as we sat on the side of the road with the Florida sun beaming in the windows… and the mood never turned sour with self pity.  I’m chuckling to myself right now because I was, and still am, pumped at how mature the boys handled the situation.

Although I didn’t meet and begin getting to know them until we arrived in Daytona Beach, my two roommates and new friends, Dylan and Greg were among those on the bus who handled the situation so well.  And they proved to be just as mature and good-natured as my initial impression of the other young men on bus 5.  It was truly a blessing to spend the week with these two guys, to get to know them, and to talk about what our next steps in growing closer to Jesus are.

That’s enough of a story for today’s post. So without further ado I share the first of my Gauntlet 2016 pics.

Gauntlet 2016-6Gauntlet 2016-6-2.jpgGauntlet 2016-74.jpgGauntlet 2016-52-2.jpgGauntlet 2016-5-2.jpg

Read Full Post »

I just stepped outside into a beautiful, crisp late winter morning in the South.  The birds are singing a joyful chorus as a red hued ribbon on the eastern horizon foretells a bright sunrise in the next half hour or so.  A few wisps of fog in the low spots provides a reminder of the rain yesterday.  I am able to linger a few minutes to soak it in and praise our heavenly Father for His great goodness towards us.  As I do so I realize again what a blessing it is that we have a good, good Father.  A loving Father who has a plan for us that He will bring to fruition, even if the path to blessing means we won’t always get what’s fair.

A little over 14 months ago I was fired from my leadership role in a fairly large manufacturing plant.  It wasn’t fair.  It took several days before the anger dissipated.  I knew the right thing to do – to trust the Lord, pray for those who spitefully use you, look to the future and not back, etc.  In fact I had encouraged others who had gone through similar situations with these words, but I hadn’t personally experienced anything quite this intense before.  The issue was not in believing that God was eventually going to bring good out of the situation.  The problem was the unbidden thoughts of all the time, effort and sacrifice I had put in to build a successfully performing team only to have it taken away without even an opportunity to state my case.  Before I knew it in the courtroom of my mind I had witnesses lined up, my case presented, and a clear verdict against the ones who had fired me because – IT WASN’T FAIR!

The funny thing is, every time that my mind would go through one of those cycles, the Holy Spirit would whisper to me.  “Are you going to trust Me?”  Fourteen months later, I am soooo thankful the Lord stuck with me and continued to encourage me to trust Him.  Because I did.  And each time I did it was a little longer before I would have another pity-party and the pity-party would be a little less intense and a little shorter.  Within a month or two it had become a habit that as soon as a thought along those lines would come, I would squash it with.  “I trust you, Lord!”  and I would often have a scripture come to mind to go with it.  “I thank you Lord that you are for me and not against me.”  “I thank you Lord that the plans you have for me are to prosper me and not to harm me.”  “Thank you Lord that you are my God who takes hold of my right hand and says to me, ‘Do not fear: I will help you”.

Let me add parenthetically, that I know, I was buoyed by the prayers of God’s people.  It is a wonderful mystery to me that I fully recognize to be true, God allows us to partner with Him through prayer to change things.  There were a lot of people praying for me.  Several of the folks that I had worked with kept in touch and let me know they were praying.  My family is filled with believers and they upheld me in prayer.  And God, in His marvelous, omniscient timing, had prompted me to start the process to getting much more involved in the Care Ministry at our church just before all this happened.  So that when I was fired, I was immersed in a group of loving, caring, praying people.

Today, I can honestly say, I am in such a better place.  First and foremost, my walk with the Lord and the time with my wife is so much better.  The mountain of stress that I lived under (and that was killing me – literally.  See my blog about my heart issues.) was removed.  While I assumed in that transition time that I would see a little bit of a drop in my income before I started making a comparable salary, I was mistaken.  I didn’t come close to making a similar income.  But even so the stress never returned.  Amazingly, the stress of living on substantially less has never arisen.  It is another mystery, because we eliminated some expenses, but it really doesn’t add up to our lost income, but we still are having all our needs met.  God has consistently provided exactly what was needed.

Another very interesting point occurred about 3 months in.  The day I was fired, I called a friend who owns a consulting business doing what I do.  I had a sense I was supposed to work for his company.  And over time, we have developed a great working relationship and I am now getting fairly regular work consulting.  But the process of bringing me on took several months.  I went most of last year without paying work.  So I went through the process to get unemployment.

One thing I learned, is if anyone thinks it is easy to get unemployment, think again.  The process is pretty rigorous and includes a number of checks along the way to prevent milking the system.  I can see how dishonest people could still cheat, but it isn’t a cakewalk.  I had spent several hours getting set up and then, as I was ready to apply, the Lord whispered to me again, “Are you going to trust Me?”  I have learned that when the Holy Spirit gives us a check in our spirit about something, we should listen.  I had been pursuing the unemployment compensation because it was my right.  As several friends pointed out, it wasn’t really just a government handout, but something that I had been paying into for years so it was appropriate for me to get it.  But I realized the Lord was telling me “No” to getting the unemployment.  So I walked away from it and never drew unemployment.  It was just after that that I got my first week of consulting work.  Over the next few months I got about a week a month.  The last quarter I got 6 weeks of work.  As of this writing, I am looking at about 3 – 4 weeks per month for the next few months.

Now I have spent a lot of time talking about the financial side.  I was raised in a time and environment that emphasized my primary role was as provider to my family.  While there are a number of areas where losing your job hits you, the biggest for many will be the perceived failure as provider.  Losing my job took me to a place where the Lord was able to show me that I was not the ultimate provider for my family.  I have said this was true in the past and, in individual situations where circumstances dictated that I could not control of the outcome, I had submitted to God’s role as provider.  In this year long trial though, we have experienced His consistent supply of all our needs and even a majority of our wants.  It has been liberating in a way I had never really anticipated.

My life, and that of my wife and family, has been amazingly impacted for the good through my getting fired.  While it may not have been fair, it was definitely for the best.  It has strengthened my faith in ways that I could not imagine.  God, who I already knew and acknowledged as my Lord and Provider, has been able to demonstrate the absolute reality of His love and provision in tangible, practical ways for months now.  And He has clarified for me what our role is as His children.  We are to trust and obey.  Even if it means we don’t always get our way.  Even if it isn’t always fair.  When we put our whole faith and trust in the Lord, we will sometimes miss out on what’s fair to get what’s best.  And that my friend, is a pretty good deal.

Be blessed today and be a blessing to the people God puts in your life today.

 

Read Full Post »

As I rose this morning I wondered if the storm that crashed in upon us at dusk last night would result in a glorious sunrise this morning.  I hurriedly got dressed as an excitement rose within me to commune with the Father and see what the morning light ushered in.  Surprisingly, my excitement only rose when I looked out the window and saw the fog.  Grabbing my bible and hot tea I headed outside.

This morning’s post requires a little background before I get to the good stuff.  I am in a new phase of my life.  At the beginning of this year after almost 32 years of constant employment and increasingly responsible positions within three different companies, I found myself unemployed.  The way the separation transpired left me with unanswered questions and a fair amount of emotional loose ends to work through.  I had the basis of a plan already formulated, but I had not done much work in setting the plan in motion when the separation arrived.  So even as I moved into a time of soul-searching I also moved into hurry-up mode to become an independent consultant in my field of expertise.  Today, five months later I have made more progress on the soul-searching side, but both are progressing.

Which brings me to the lesson in the fog.  Our church is currently going through a series called “Without a Doubt”.  We are looking at God’s faithfulness in life’s most trying times.  As Pastor P said several weeks ago every person is in one of three stages in life.  Either they are in a storm, they are coming out of a storm, or they are getting ready to enter a storm.  Last night’s storm dumped a lot of rain and that moisture created the fairly dense fog this morning.  Storms do that.  Their impact can linger even after the deluge has passed.

The fog after the rain.

The fog after the rain.

Enveloped by Fog.

Enveloped by Fog.

As I prayed this morning I realized that since I came to faith I don’t believe I have doubted God’s love.  I have experienced periods of uncertainty about what the results would be in a storm, uncertainty whether my response would be right and good, uncertainty whether I would stand in the God-honoring way I desire, but I haven’t been uncertain that God is or that He is sovereign.  Digging deeper though, I have been uncertain that God’s love would manifest itself in a way that I could bear.  It was not whether God loves or that He would be with me.  Those are unshakeable truths.  But I recognize in myself the weakness of thought and action that leaves me yearning for more of Christ and less of me.

At that moment I raised my hands and looked up into the grey mist all around and above and I praised the living Lord.  Immediately I thought of what was on the other side of that grey mist – a glorious sunshine that was bright, golden, and warm.  A light that is life giving.  A light that is always there.  A light that I am certain is there.

It dawned on me in that moment that God’s love is the same as the sun.  It is always there… it is life-giving… it is bright, golden, and warm.  My doubts and uncertainty are swallowed in the certainty of God’s love.  It is a redeeming love.  Even if I lose all, God’s love can and will redeem what is lost (See Job 42:10).  Even if the way is dark, God’s love is the light of dawn speeding toward us.  Even if my faith slips and my response misses the mark, God is faithful and just to forgive us and restore us because of His love.

I had two key take-aways from the message this weekend that apply in every storm and in the fog.  First, if the situation we are in is not good, then God’s not finished.  Second, in the times when I cannot see God’s hand, when I can’t understand what is going on, I can always, ALWAYS trust His heart.  Let the storm come.  Let the fog roll in.  Let the darkness settle upon us.  In all things and in every situation God is there, God is light, God is life and God is love!

As I finish this blog I look out the window and within the past five minutes the fog has lifted.  I think I will take that as I sign I got it right.

The fog has lifted!

The fog has lifted!

AWESOME!  He is SO GOOD!

Rejoice today my friend.  God’s love is precious and it is near.  Take hold of His hand today and let us rejoice!

Read Full Post »

Life is a lot like the weather.  Sometimes it is wonderful like blue skies and pleasant temperatures.  Other times it is rainy, dull, and dreary.  And on occasion a storm or hurricane decides to roll through.  For those in the northern climes we’ll say a blizzard blasts you.  Today I sit on a balcony at Myrtle Beach as tropical storm Ana decides to come ashore.  As storms go Ana is relatively mild.  Still the wind gusts and at times driving rain are scuttling the plans of many as we hunker down inside and plan to “make the best of it.”

Today several of our friends are going through hurricanes in their lives.  A precious 2 year old succumbed to cancer yesterday.  Another friend lost her only brother who leaves behind a wife and two young daughters.  Other friends are dealing with struggling relationships – marriages being attacked and threatened.  These painful events are akin to the wind, rain, and battering waves that threaten to destroy beach, buildings, and any soul who mistakenly wanders out into the storm.

Jesus talked about exactly these sorts of situations and He used a weather metaphor to do so.  In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus describes the wise and foolish builders.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

I am an engineer so I know that there are many steps in building a good, solid house.  Jesus really emphasizes only one point in this story – the foundation.  You can do everything else in home construction perfect, but if you have a poor foundation the home will not stand when the earth shakes or the severe storm hits.  Jesus and His teachings are the only truly solid foundation for life.

 Just a little bit later in Matthew we see a real life example of Jesus’ authority demonstrated.  Crossing the Sea of Galilee Jesus falls into an exhausted sleep in the boat when a squall breaks out.  From Matthew 8: 23 – 27:
23Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
For some storms in our lives Jesus will step in and calm the storm… the layoff passes us by, the diagnosis is marvelously / miraculously wrong, the wayward child comes to their senses and returns home.  For many storms though the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, chooses to walk with us through the storm rather than still the storm.  The promise of scripture and the experience of followers everywhere is that if the Lord doesn’t calm the storm, you can be certain He is with you in the storm.  That is my story.  Jesus’ peace, comfort, and grace have sustained and carried me through every storm I’ve experienced.  And on the other side I am a better person with a stronger faith because of it.  I have been in a particular storm for the past year plus, but I see the end of this storm on the horizon and I am excited.
As I’ve written the bands of wind and rain have continued to sweep through and yet I feel joy in my heart as if it where a beautiful, spring morning.  I know Him who is the foundation of life and He is my strength and shield.  I don’t know where you are in your life, but there is a truth our pastor says fairly frequently.  “Whoever you are you can be certain one of three things is true.  Either you are in a storm, you’ve recently come through a storm, or there is a storm in your future.”  This would be pretty discouraging IF we didn’t have a sovereign God who knew how to bring good out of every storm and Who walks with us through them.
If Jesus and His words are your life foundation, then join me in praising Him in the rain.  If you do not yet know Him, please comment to my blog and I will be happy to reach out and introduce you to the Lover of your soul who wants to be your foundation.  Ask the Lord to help you know Him.  Also pick up the bible and start reading.  The gospels are the best choice, but I would be happy to correspond with you and give you some suggestions based upon your life situation.
Be blessed today and be a blessing whether you are in the sunshine or in the rain.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »