In the Eye of the Storm…

I am one of those people who very much enjoys watching a storm roll in.  While I don’t get quite as excited as the meteorologists do on TV I love myself a good thunderstorm.  We are embarking on storm season here in West Michigan and while I don’t like being stranded while out and about I prefer watching from the safety of my front porch…and a basement I can go to if need be.  I love the thrill of watching the giant thunderheads come in from the west and the lightening brighten up the sky.  There are other storms however that make me want to run for cover, stay inside and batten down the hatches until it has completely blown over.

Have you ever felt like the ones you love all around you are being attacked somehow?  Have you ever seen utter chaos and catastrophy strike from from all angles?  Have you ever felt like while it may not be effecting you directly because you are standing in the sunlight the wind and rain is all around you…on all sides as if closing in?  Nathan and I feel exactly like that right now.  So many that we love so deeply are in treacherous waters…yet…we just aren’t able in our own strength to rescue them…we can’t fix it.  We feel like we are in the eye of a great big huge storm erupting all around us and we just can’t calm it. 

So many are hurting and suffering and struggling right now.  How can we help?  What can we do?  These are the questions we ask each and everyday as we wait for the Spirit to lead us in how to pray…how to help…how to reach out…how to be Jesus to our loved ones. We’ve been through our own storms and the Lord was the one who did the saving.  He eventually brought us through it to safety…though it was our prayer in the thick of it for Him to simply calm it…that He would simply just make it go away.  Many of those around us at the time had little idea what was really going on…and to be honest…I didn’t either until we were through it.  I could have so easily been swallowed up by those waves of fear and doubt and selfishness but by the grace of God I was rescued.  No one else could have saved me.   But…when I was about to drown I begged Him for help and when He mercifully extended me His hand…I had to be the one to grasp it.   No one else could do it for me.

We certainly are not exempt from another storm coming our way…in fact the very same illness that started that terrible storm seems to rear its ugly head now and again with the physical limitations and suffering I daily endure.  But now when that happens I know that what I need to reach for in fact isn’t what…but Whom.  It’s the storms of those around me that make me want to run for higher ground sometimes.  It’s so much easier to just stay away and keep my distance…because I can’t really help anyway, right?  The reality is that my perfect example…Jesus…doesn’t do that.  He goes out into the storms of life and does the rescuing…but what if He uses His people to drive the life boats requiring them to take Him and His rays of sunshine and warmth with them into the wind and waves with acts of love and kindness…with words of hope and peace and Truth.  He does the actual saving…He reaches out His mighty hand to those about to drown…but do we as His followers play a part?   If those stranded in the storm won’t go to Jesus…perhaps we need to bring Him to them?  If that is the case then we must be listening for instruction, for the exact coordinates of where to go and what tools we need to bring with us. 

As you can see I am deeply burdened for those I love…all around me.  I wonder…Why God?  Why have you blessed me so richly?  I just don’t understand.  I don’t deserve any of it!  Why can I see your Light and they cannot?  Why can I feel your warmth and they cannot?  Why can’t I do more?  It could very well be that it’s because I’ve been through my own storm and was graciously rescued.   If that’s the case and I went through what I went through not only to grow in my faith…to know who God really is…but also to help and reach out to others…it was certainly worth every toss of every wave.   On the other hand, my husband always says to me “Baby, you can’t push a rope.”  I really don’t like that phrase, but He’s right.  There are things I cannot fix.  There are things I cannot do for others.  I can’t make everything right again.  Me…Martha…the do-er in me…cannot make everyone happy and settled and content though I want to with every ounce of my being.   I can’t do the rescuing.  And just because I can’t doesn’t mean I can run for cover, stay inside and batten down the hatches until everything blows over.  I must simply trust and obey and go into the storm with them.  I have to know that God has a plan for them and that this is their storm in which they absolutely can become closer to the Lord than they ever thought possible…if as they are about to be swallowed by the waves will humbly ask Him to save them and reach out and take His hand.

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.  After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,  and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

   “Come,” he said.

   Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.  Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”  Matthew 14:22-33

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