~ Jennifer A. Janes
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
In the Storm
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)
My family is in a storm now. It’s scary, and we don’t know what the outcome will be. The situation is spiraling out of control, despite our best efforts to keep it in check. It’s in God’s hands, and we’re struggling to stay focused on Him and trust that He will tenderly care for us and see us safely through to the other side. As I contemplate our situation and try to struggle through to the peace beyond comprehension (Philippians 4:7), I remember another storm I faced . . . .
Last week, I had to travel to a conference to fulfill some contractual obligations. Severe weather was predicted for later in the day, but I kept hoping and praying that the weather would hold until I got home. I had gotten up at 4:00 am to travel two hours to the conference. I was tired and hungry, and I didn’t feel very alert.
To try to remedy those issues, I stopped and got something to eat (along with some caffeine in the form of iced tea). Then I stopped to put some gasoline in my vehicle, and I headed home. The problem was that the skies had gotten very dark and were filled with ominous clouds. I could see flashes of lightning in the distance. I began praying that I would get through the mountains and to the interstate before the bottom dropped out.
God heard my prayer. I made it safely through the twists and turns of the mountains, where there was no cell phone signal. I called my husband to let him know where I was, took a short break, and got back on the road. It was interstate all the way, and I was praying that I would make it home before the weather got worse.
I made it five miles before the bottom dropped out.
It rained so hard that I could hardly see. I kept begging God to let me see the solid line on the shoulder. That was my guide for driving in the storm. I stayed focused on that line and drove right alongside it to keep myself in my lane. The rain let up periodically, but the lightning was terrible. The bolts splitting the sky from clouds to ground in the darkness made it very difficult for me to see. My eyes couldn’t adjust quickly enough from dark to light to dark again. The flashes were going off all around me. Then the rain would start up again. I was tired and terrified.
I did the only thing I knew to do. I prayed, and then I sang every praise song that came to mind---as loudly as I could sing it. I’m sure I didn’t remember the words or tunes perfectly, but my heart was in the right place. I wanted my Creator and Redeemer to know that I remembered Him in the middle of the storm, that I was crying out to Him with everything I had, that I knew He was all I had and all I needed.
He met me there. He reminded me I wasn’t alone with a peace that made no sense in the rather desperate situation I found myself in---alone in a rural area of Southwest Arkansas, a raging storm, no street lights, and so tired I was almost ill. The peace was real, and so was the assurance that He was going to see me through the storm, that I wasn’t alone, and that He had the whole situation in hand.
As I look at the storm my family is entering now, I remember that storm and the sense of relief I felt when I finally arrived home to my family. I know we will come through this storm with that same sense of relief. I know that God will see us through. What we need to do now is turn to Him with all that is in us, giving Him all that concerns us and then praising Him with everything in us, reminding ourselves that He is with us, He is powerful, He loves us, and He is good.
Pray: Father, thank You for Your peace and the assurance of Your presence during life’s storms. Help us to keep our minds and hearts focused on You so we can receive that peace that doesn’t make sense, the peace that keeps us going when we can’t see the way. Thank You for Your love and care for us. Amen.
~ Jennifer A. Janes