by Carol Nicholls
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5
An SUV is rising several feet into the air landing yards away from where it had been. A tornado is lifting homes off foundations depositing them in tree tops. The effects of powerful storms can be seen almost nightly on television. Sadly, there is an “entertainment” value in watching these events. We all seem to be voyeurs to one degree or another. None of it seems to be real viewed from the living room couch.
Reality sets in when you walk across land recently consumed by a firestorm. The stark spine of a chimney stands where just days ago people cooked dinner, watched TV, mowed the grass. Nothing is left but ashes. Fire, flood, tornado, hurricane, avalanche, mud slides…how many kinds of storms are there?
Natural storms are devastating but the likelihood that they will directly affect us is small. However, life’s storms are even more destructive and most of us will face them multiple times. Life’s storms can come suddenly. A mate comes home, announces the relationship is over and walks out – that is a life storm. You go to a routine doctor checkup and hear your kidneys are failing – that is a life storm. Your precious child becomes a prodigal doing things that break your heart – that is a life storm. We ask, “When the storm is over will I be left like the chimney standing alone in the wreckage, or, will I be filled with peace and renewed strength?”
How well we survive a life storm is up to us. Peter walked on water. Then he began to sink. Why? Because he took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the storm. The difference between sinking and walking on the water depends on where we focus. When the whole world seems to be crashing in we either choose to ride out the storm in a leaking boat or to walk on the water. Furiously bailing water while trying to get the boat to the shore means we are the captain of a sinking boat. Trusting God to live up to His promises to direct our paths, to give wisdom when we ask in faith, to never leave us requires a conscious decision to live out in real time what we truly believe about Him. It can be pretty scary when we feel nothing is going the way it “should.” Our limited human eyes cannot see what He sees. Our frightened hearts cannot comprehend His heart of compassion. Our wisdom pales in comparison to His vast knowledge. Our strength is that of a newborn in light of His power.
I am well acquainted with life’s storms. There have been many. Stress, sorrow and disappointment have usually been the reward of my best efforts. Slowly, over time, I have learned that God will be exactly who He says He is. With each new storm my faith has increased. Experience has brought me quiet confidence, freedom from overwhelming fear and peace in the storm. I still come a little unglued when a new life storm arises, I am human! The difference now is that fear no longer controls me. Once the initial shock wears off I know we will get to the shore walking on the water together.
Are you in the middle of a life storm? Put your faith into practice. Find a storm-wise friend who will walk with you. Remember all of the times He has already been faithful to you. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, don’t rely on your own understanding. He will direct your paths…even if that means getting out of the boat and walking on the water with Him!