Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Held in the Storm

It is after the storm passes. When the howling wind that pierced the heart hushes. The surging waves that smashed life to bits become still. And you realize you made it; you lived through it all. You survived. You are still standing.

That is when it hit me. Before the wild storm I thought I had living figured out--until life was almost snuffed out.

I fought and thrashed and floundered. Fought to live for my husband. Fought to live for my children. But when I had fought long and hard enough to keep on living, the frailty of life was too real and I became lost. Lost in the land of the living.

That is when I became afraid to live and scared to suffer anymore.

They say open-heart surgery can send you straight into depression. I fell hard. Into the darkness. Alone. I sunk to a seemingly bottomless pit.

I lost my way.

I lost my words.

I lost the wonder of life.

I became numb. Numb to the very thing I loved to proclaim: the goodness of God.

His grace was blazing like the sunshine splashing gold through the winter branches outside my window, but my eyes focused on the barrenness instead of the Light.

“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”

And, looking away from the shining radiance, I began to sink, like Peter out on the turbulent sea.

Fear held me hostage. Fear does that. It will hold you back and make you withdraw. And you may wonder why God seems so silent.

When Peter stepped out of the boat and fixed his eyes on Jesus he walked on the water. When he saw the wind, he was afraid. When he looked away from the Lord, he tried to flee the danger and ended up withdrawing from the very One who would reach out to help him. And he began to sink.

It is faith that looks to Jesus. Peter had faith. And yes, Jesus reprimanded him for his “little faith”, but not until after He had reached out His hand and took hold of Peter. He held him secure and helped him to trust Him more.

He had already told Peter not to be afraid. He had already told him to: “Take heart, it is I”. He had already bid him to “come”. He had already told him to walk out amidst the storm and trust him. And after Peter falters and flails around in the sea, after Peter looks to the waves and begins to sink, Jesus reaches out his hand and takes hold of Peter and they get back into the boat and the wind ceased.

His anchor held him--through the storm and after the storm.

"When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil."

So, when fear grips us and we begin to sink, the Anchor holds us. He has gone before us. He will not let go.
“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever.” (Hebrews 6:20-21)
My eyes looked away. Depression clouded my sight. Fear crept in and all I could think to do was to flee, to withdraw. And I began to sink.

I cried out for help, like Peter floundering in the sea.

And when I looked up away from my troubles and fixed my gaze on Jesus, I knew He never let go. He reached out and He took hold of me. The winds ceased. Life sails on. And, it is not a matter of if God is silent.

He has spoken:
“ . . . in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high . . .” (Hebrews 1:1-3)

The storms, they come. We have been battered and beaten. But, we have been held. He reaches out His hand and takes hold and gently nudges, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Don’t look to the waves. Look to the One who made the seas and who has power over the waves.

“His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.”

And after the storm you realize, yes, you made it. And through it your faith is strengthened and your joy is sweeter. Fear turns to awe. The glimpse of the glory you saw, you can’t gaze on it, but you look to the King of grace.

The wonder of His sovereign grace opens your eyes to see His goodness, the display of His righteous power stirs words of praise, and the eternal hope found in Him leads you home.

“When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
In Him, my righteousness, alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.”

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