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What now?

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The sun shines beautifully amide fluffy white clouds.  Birds sing and gentle breezes blow my hair.  The day is pleasant.

Then suddenly, almost without warning the storm clouds gather, winds whip up ferociously and terror threatens my very core. And where do I go for shelter?  Where can I ride out the storm and be safe? Where is the promised peace in all of this?

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I sit and pray silently, “Oh Jesus help!” over and over because no other words come but those.

I recall stories I’ve heard, how one poor woman cried out for mercy as Jesus passed by, and He stopped, turned His attention to her in a stormy swirl that would not relent.  An impossible situation that she could do nothing about.  Her attempts at fixing it herself were hollow and left her empty.  All her efforts were futile.  She boldly cried out for help, not worrying what anyone would think about her.  That was over, trying to please others or be acceptable.  She was desperate and there was only One who could help her.

I feel it in my own heart.  Desperate.  I cry to the only One who can help me.

The darkness of the storm clouds threaten my joy.  How can I give thanks in this?  How do I count grace and gifts when I am brokenhearted, despairing, and tormented by “what if’s?”

I turn to the only Source I know, the place I’ve run so many times when tempests threaten.  And I am not disappointed.  His Word comforts.  He points me to places I’ve been before, to promises given in dangerous times, and He reminds me that He resurrected the dead.  Not just in centuries past but in my own life.

And He says, “Trust Me.”

But can I do that?  Can I turn my frenzied emotions, my breaking heart, my desperate soul to trust?  I must.  Is there any other place to go?  Who else has the words of life?  Who else calms my storms every single time?  Who else has power over any and all forces in this great expanse of creation?  Who else speaks and it is done?

What else, who else can I trust?  Nothing.  No one.

And my heart responds, faltering at first, the best I can offer.  My best is never enough I know.  His best is always enough.  I reach to the only One who claims my heart and gives me hope.  Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Trust.  In my questions.  In uncertainty.  In the dark.  In the storm.

I will trust You even now.

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Sunday grace

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The rains come.  And sometimes it just keeps coming and we wonder if we will be washed away or blown away by the storms.

And then the sun breaks through and blue appears in the clouds.  And we sigh relief.

I raise the shades and throw open the doors and receive the sun, its welcome warmth.  And I smile.

In every life there comes rain and sunshine.  Both are needed for growth.  All sun will make a dessert. All rain will produce a flood.  But both together, working their beauty, will give us trees and grass and flowers and birds and bees and more than we could imagine.

God is in His heaven and all is right with the world because the earth is the Lord’s and all of its fullness.  He is there in sunshine and in the rain.

All is well.  And all will be well.

Sunday grace.

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Blue sky

Day 21 of 31 Days of October – Roses Among The Thorns

No matter how the clouds gather,

No matter the shades of grey that roll and swirl and block the light,

No matter that darkness seems to last too long,

No matter the swirling and twisting that takes your breath,

There is still a blue sky behind it all,

And after the storm, it will break through.

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” . . . [Jesus] rebuked the wind and the rough waves, and the storm ceased. And all became calm.”  Luke 8:24

For a list of the days of October, go here please.

Leaves falling

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Autumn has not always been one of my favorite seasons.

When I was a youngster, autumn meant school starting, and I was not a fan of school.  I’d much rather be outside running with my dogs, or pretending to be a cow girl with my cousins, or contentedly playing at home with my mother.

Even as a teenager, school was not the best time of my life no matter how many people said it was.

I was a good enough student, but I was also very shy.  The social aspect of high school just left me feeling left out.

The one thing about autumn I did like was shopping for school supplies.  To this day, I can walk into an office supply store, catch the aroma of paper and pencils and feel happy.

But over the years I’ve fallen for fall and it’s colors and the closing down of the warm months of sowing and reaping.  I am caught up in fall, the trees showing off the colors they’ve been hiding all summer.  Gold, rust, crimson, burnt orange, and olive.  Who but a marvelous Creator could bring one season to an end and another to a beginning with such flash and glory.

So with the prediction of high winds and possible tornado activity this week (in October?), I wondered if the colorful leaves would manage to stay on their branches or would they blow away too soon.

Those sudden gusts of wind, the storms of life, showing up unexpectedly and out of season, can leave me feeling bare, uncovered, blown and tossed about.

Such has been life and such it will be.  One crises replaces another.  Just when I can take a breath and enjoy the changing season, the breezes turn to gale force and knock me off my feet.

I watched my trees sway in the wind, branches loosing their grip on the leaves,  What is left is a golden carpet on the ground.  What made the tree beautiful had become beauty strewn all over the ground.

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The Father wastes nothing.

No storm every comes my way without bringing His presence, teaching me to trust, reminding me of His faithfulness.  In the storm, I learn endurance and patience.   I find the peace-filled Prince in the middle of it.  I learn that He brings beauty from the darkest night.

He makes all things beautiful in His time.  As fall gives way to winter, I will hope in the Lord.  I will wait for the promise of spring.  And though it may be delayed, it will come.  For He who promised is faithful and can be trusted.

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When the storm comes

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It came suddenly, without warning.  Storm clouds rush in, darkening the sky.   I run to pull down windows.  I go to the deck to secure anything that could blow away.

I see the trees begin to sway under the force of the blowing wind.  Their branches are pulled one way then another, back and forth.  I watch as they give way to the storm, bending but not breaking, surrendering to what is.

And I wonder, can I be the tree, bending beneath the weight of this storm without  breaking?  I want to.

The tempest rages inside me and I cry out for the pain of it.  I ask for strength to keep standing.  I pray that the roots of my faith have grown deep enough to secure my feet on the solid Rock and hold me steadfast and sure.

The storm outside passes over. The trees still stand tall.  Broken branches are strewn upon the ground, dead and lifeless.  They were useless to the tree, only hindering its growth and shadowing its beauty.  They must  come down.

For me, this too shall pass.   Pruning will cut away the dead and lifeless, that which is not good for my greater purpose. Those things that are sucking the life from me and weighing me down must be removed.

I lift my hands and sway in the breeze.  Let the winds blow, Lord.  Let the winds blow.

Blessings?

So many people have written wise words about suffering.  I read them and find I have nothing new to offer on the subject.  Enduring suffering is part and parcel of being alive.  The longer I live, little by little, I understand suffering’s purpose.

I think for the unbeliever it must be to draw the attention toward a God who loves and wants to offer grace and mercy.  To the believer it must be the same, to draw the attention toward a God who loves and offers grace and mercy.  Moments and months of suffering come to everyone.  And God offers Himself to us.

Instead of trying to give you my words, I submit to you a song I heard only about two months ago.  It’s message rings loud in my ear, humming its melody to my soul, speaking truth to my spirit.  It is called simply “Blessings.”  It’s composer, Laura Story, has endured her own stuggles and speaks from her experience.  I appreciate that.  Here it is: 

BLESSINGS

We pray for blessings.  We pray for peace, comfort for family, protection while we sleep.

We pray for healing, for prosperity.  We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering,

And all the while You hear each spoken need, yet love is way too much to give us lesser things.

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?  What if your healing comes through tears? 

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?

And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear.  And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near.

We doubt your goodness.  We doubt Your love, as if every promise from Your Word is not enough.

And all the while You hear each desperate plea, and long that we’d have faith to believe.

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?  What if Your healing comes through tears?

And what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?

And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win, we know that pain reminds this heart

That this is not, this not our home . . . It’s not our home.

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?  What if Your healing comes through tears?

And what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if my greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life,

Is a revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?

And what if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights are Your mercies in disguise?

Beautiful thoughts from a wise young women who has know her own suffering.  Hear her story at this site.

Still the storm passes

I’ve been listening to a lot of weather reports for a number of days now.  The muddy Salt River is high enough for me to see it out my front window.  I hear reports of people evacuating their homes, of flooded basements, of hail damaged roofs.  Tonight I see war-like devastation in the southern states where friends and family live.

And we pray. 

Sweet William and I have prayed a lot lately about the weather, asking for protection and mercy on us and those we love, naming them one by one.

And I wonder what is happening?

Is it the result of global warming?  Is this punishment from God? 

Jesus said it rightly when He warned His disciples, “In this world you shall have tribulation.”  He didn’t say, “Everything will be just great if you follow me.”  Nor did He say, “You’ll be healthy, wealthy, and wise.” 

Life is hard.  We all know it is true.  Listen to the stories people tell.  Even those who smile have a heartbreaking tale to tell.

The rain falls on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).  Bad things happen to good people.  We don’t want to believe that and act surprised when it does.  Especially if the bad things are happening to us personally.

During these stormy days and nights I have thought of a favorite Scripture verse in Job 26:14 (CEV).

“These things are merely a whisper of God’s power at work.  How little we would understand if this whisper ever turned into thunder!”

God’s power is unparalleled on this earth.  Man’s discoveries and inventions are no match for His smallest breath.  The forces of nature that were spoken into existence astonish us. 

Power belongs to God, so says Psalm 62:11.  Comforting words follow that verse telling me that mercy belongs to Him also.

I don’t know what is happening.  But what I do know is that God is good as well as powerful.  He is not willing that any should perish.  He loves men and women, boys and girls and wants them to turn to Him in their trouble, to thank Him for His many blessings, to worship Him for who He is. 

He is God.  He is in control.  He is a shelter in our time of storm.

 

What storms are swirling around you?  Leave a comment.