How do you handle the storms of life?
Do you call your bestie or your mom?
Do you post a rant on Facebook?
Do you reach for a pain killer like food, drugs, alcohol, or exercise?
Most of us can admit to doing some (or all) of these tactics, but something else works far better.
Whenever you have a significant storm in your life, stop running to something else.
Get face to face with Jesus.
In the last week, young friends have asked me to pray for them because they were experiencing a severe trial of life. While I am always honored and happy to take other people’s burdens to the foot of the cross, this time I began to ponder a question to ask first.
What do you want the Lord to do for you?
Women of faith know the familiar Bible stories of Jesus healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, and powering the legs of the lame. Jesus cares. He can heal all our diseases. He conquered death for us. He can do anything.
Here’s what we also know. Jesus often works very fast.
Immediately, the Bible says.
Given the world of instant gratification we occupy, the word “immediately” grabs my attention. I want the pain to go away now. I want the treatment to work now. I want the relationship healed. Right. Now. As I write this, I am astonished at how pain averse I am in light of what he suffered for me.
When my cries for help are not answered immediately, I wonder why. Did God not hear, or did he forget my request? Does he want me to feel pain? Where are you, God, in this circumstance?
In the past my answer has been, “Well, if this trial is not going away immediately because it’s not good for us, then just get us through this, Lord.”
These were my first thoughts when my husband had a stroke, our son had debilitating pain and emergency surgery, our daughter was resuscitated and helicoptered to the hospital, our twins were in a car accident, a child dealt with depression, my work was difficult, my parents were failing, or when life handed us a lemon or two.
“Help us get through this,” I cried to him, face to face in misery.
In retrospect, I wonder if I often pray using an inaccurate preposition.
Have you ever noticed how God’s amazing power strengthens, supports, comforts, and is revealed not when we are THROUGH the storm, but IN the raging waters, at the very center…
IN the pain.
IN the sorrow.
IN the confusion.
IN the chaos?
This is an important truth to remember. No matter what the outcome after the storm, the real comfort lies with knowing that Christ Jesus is IN our troubled waters.
When the disciples were rowing through the rough waves on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus appeared to them. They were frightened to see him.
Are we frightened too? Do we want him to help us through the storms of life but fail to recognize his power is made perfect IN our trials, temptation and weakness?
Not unlike the disciples, we watch the waves for a while, and then frantically cry out when they get really big.
“Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
It took a terrifying moment for them to get face to face with Jesus, to cry out. But as they did, the result was so stunning, it takes your breath away.
Complete calm, immediately.
During our tough times, God amazingly answered my prayers immediately, as well. He commanded my heart to be still. He caused the wind and waves of my emotions to be calm and find rest in his promises. He sent scripture after scripture to my mind to ease the dis-ease.
And grace, his grace, brought us safely to another day.
What I wanted the Lord to do for me wasn't nearly as much as his grace desires to give me. He leads me in the rough waves and through the deep waters so that...
Tell me, what do you want the Lord to do for you?
Lord Jesus, your power is unimaginable. As your children, we have the privilege of instant access to peace. When we encounter troubles, help us get face to face with you first, and not as a last resort. Be with us in the storm and calm us as you guide us through to safe harbor. Amen.