Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Navigating Storms, 101

Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.

Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
Isaiah 43:1b-2, 5a (NLT)

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
John 16:33 (NLT)

Hurricane Season

I grew up with hurricanes as a part of yearly life. There was no winter or fall, but there was definitely a hurricane season in Jamaica, where I grew up. If you had the means, you purchased or rented homes that were allegedly hurricane proof. The rhythm of life in the midst of a hurricane is known to you, and your family's stories of hurricane survival and post hurricane recovery were also well known. You learned to expect hurricanes. You learn to rebuild.

For Hurricane Irma, I happen to be in Jamaica, and have had a first hand reminder of this life. On a track slightly north and east of Jamaica's location, we watched in shocked awe as Barbuda was flattened and St Martin struggled under the weight of damage and loss of resources. In Jamaica, the airspace was closed because of wind and lightening damage at the airport. Even with the knowledge of what the season can bring, handling it is extremely difficult and, for some, coping takes all they have. Rebuilding seems impossible. Yet I have seen Caribbean islands rebuild. Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. But rebuild, they do.

Life Storms

Isn't this just like life, though? I had the privilege over the past few days to hear stories of life happenings, births and deaths, sports trophies, graduations, weddings, and illnesses, from dear friends in the faith. Sometimes the illnesses are short and deadly. Sometimes they continue on and on, bringing all involved to the limits of capacity and faith. And then they continue. 

Interesting to me in this sober time is the human ability to have joy, to be resilient and to rebuild for a the future. In the middle of challenging stories, I felt an awe that was so extreme, it had a touch of reverence. Here were people who were overcoming by just their determination to put one foot in front of the other, in faith. This isn't the 'dial-a-miracle' Christianity. This is Christianity grounded in a determination to faith that passes logical understanding, to trust that exceeds rational ability, and a dependence on the One that controls storms.

I'm currently stranded by airport closings, along with many others, and I hope this resolves soon. But God's track record for miraculous power, grit, hope and joy in the face of challenge is on display before me, feeding my soul as I continue to prepare for the storms that must continue to come in life, just so the scriptures can be true. But the scriptures aren't just true about the predictability of storms. They are very clear, and very true about the power to stand, and to keep standing (Ephesians 6:13). And I'm old enough to have weathered a few of those storms myself...

And I was kept!

So, I'm learning to expect storms, to depend on His keeping in times of joy and desperate exhaustion, and to rebuild when the winds die down. Because that's the power that's in me. Miraculous power to stand.

Dear Lord, The storms around, in the weather and in our lives, can tempt our hearts to panic. The destructive path of these storms seem clear and we aren't always sure we will be able to cope. Remind us of the truth of Your word, and of Your power at work in us, to KEEP us. Fill our hearts with Your faith as we resolve to stand and trust in Your keeping power.

Amen.

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