Eye of the Storm

Eye of the Storm

Once again the eastern coast has been bombarded by a devastating hurricane.  Hurricanes are the most violent storms on earth. The warm tropical air rises, causing an area of lower air pressure below while air from higher air pressure pushes in becoming warm and moist too. The whole system of clouds and wind spins and grows, fed by the ocean’s heat and water evaporating from the surface. As the storm system rotates faster and faster, an eye forms in the center.  When the wind speeds reach 74 mph it is officially a hurricane and winds could then increase up to 157mph or greater.

The calmest part of the storm is the center or “eye”. It has no wind at the center and typically clearer skies. Located just outside the eye is the eye wall, the place within a hurricane that holds the most damaging winds and intense rainfall. A common mistake is for residents to exit their homes to inspect the damage while the eye passes over, only to be caught off guard by the violent winds in the opposite eyewall. 

Meteorologists watch these storms carefully to warn us of the impending danger – if everyday life had such warnings would we really listen? I think not.  Just like the people who insist on “riding out the storm” despite official notice, we think we know better or just don’t care. A lot of folks don’t pay attention to environmental, health and safety warnings. The Ten Commandments give us basic rules for living peacefully but they have been taken off the government and school walls.

Jesus told a parable about wise decision making for the storms of life.

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.26 But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matt 7:24-27

2020 has held severe damaging winds of uncertainty, loss and un-normal change. A tiny virus has upended the whole world. The bad actions of a few have caused political upheaval, protests and riots. There have been fires on the west coast and now hurricanes on the east coast. Whether you are in the middle of a horrible “storm” or if you find yourself waiting in “the eye” – you have to finish the course.

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out.23 As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger.24 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. The storm stopped and all was calm!25 Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!” Luke 8:22-25

Our God is in control despite the biggest storms. He can be trusted because He is our Creator, Sustainer and Friend.  Nothing is new to Him or unknown.  Just like the disciples, we can cry out to Him to help us and He does hear our prayer. He is the source of peace beyond normal comprehension. Won’t you trust Him for today? There is nothing better than feeling His arms around me when I’m in the eye of the storm.

Eye of the Storm by Ryan Stevenson

In the eye of the storm
You remain in control
And in the middle of the war
You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor
When my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me
In the eye of the storm

Waiting

Waiting

Despite our busy agendas and hurried lifestyles we spend a lot of time waiting. While we are waiting we are usually not resting or enjoying our delay.  Waiting in traffic, doctors people-waitingoffices, grocery lines or for trains etc. can be annoying but are just a normal part of life that the vast majority of us do rather patiently.  There is a happy anticipation in waiting for a baby’s’ arrival, the bride to walk the aisle, a long-awaited vacation or for Santa to come on Christmas. But anxiety or apprehension can proceed waiting for a doctor’s diagnoses, a reply on a job interview or a grade for a test.

The definition for wait is : 1. stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something happens.  2. used to indicate that one is eagerly impatient to do something or for something to happen.

In daily situations I am really pretty good at waiting. Traffic will eventually move along so I just put my Ipod on. I can make conversation or smile at babies in the shopping line and at the DMV I people watch and read a book.  C’est la vie…  (such is life)

I have been an operating room nurse for over 32 years and in surgery our job is to fix things! If you have a broken leg – the doctor will pin or plate it and put on a cast until it heals. If you have a bad gallbladder – the doctor will remove it. Of course rehab and healing take time and aren’t always smooth or easy but we have done our job.

woman-waitingI live with several health issues and over the years I have visited a lot of different doctors offices. I am used to the delays, the tests, the consults….but not waiting for the answers.  I am not always so patient when I am waiting for God to answer my prayer or show me what is next. I like to know what to do and to move forward.

When God puts me in His waiting room I cannot fix anything. I must quiet my soul, search His word and seek His presence. It is there I have learned that God is loving and faithful. God is Sovereign. He is in control of everything and knows what is best. I must simply trust. I am glad much is written in the Bible about trusting God despite the circumstances. The history and stories we are given are examples of real people with real problems and how God worked in their lives. That is where I find encouragement. girlpray

28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.   Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT)

In the English standard translation and several others, the word wait is used instead of trust.

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.                 Phil 4:6-7 (NLT)

The Apostle Paul tells us to pray, to release our need to know the answer now and relax. Our God is a big and awesome God. By trusting in Him to do the best thing – not the easiest or quickest – I receive peace of heart and strength for the day.  You can learn how to trust God while waiting too. The benefits are guaranteed.

 

Broken and Uprooted

Broken and Uprooted

DSC_1100Last weekend’s storm left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity. For some that meant no heat or water and flooded basements .The damage from the wind to the trees and power lines was extremely widespread.  Walking around our neighborhood we were awestruck as we surveyed damage to a roof and a car with two trees on top of it. A massive tree had been uprooted and was blocking the main road while other trees were snapped in half. There is really no way to fully prepare for a storm of this nature.

The journey of life contains storms of all types and sizes. During this N’oreaster storm, we felt out of sorts and uprooted.  We were able to stay in a hotel for a couple of nights and had the money to buy hot food, for which we are very grateful. Staying at a hotel is good but not home and we were not on vacation.  But this was just an inconvenience.

Have you ever felt uprooted by a change of job? Uprooted by a move far away from overturned-treefriends and family? Uprooted by loss of health or a loved one?  We live in a broken world. These experiences are hard and painful but God’s Word tells us that He will never abandon us.

I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak,      Ezek 34:16 (ESV)

18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.   Psalms 34:18 

Friend, how deep are your roots of faith?  The answers to our many problems and guidance for each day are found in the Bible. So many people who call themselves Christians do not even read His Word on a regular basis or at all. How can we find strength and peace of mind if we don’t even know Him or seek His help?

  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust is the Lord. 8  He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”        Jer 17:7-8 (ESV)

  Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.   1 Peter 5:7 (ESV)

 The Bible gives us so many examples to follow. The Psalms are a type of poetry full of raw emotion.  David praises God and cries out to Him.  He complains about life not being fair and the bad guys seem to have it all. He cries out when his heart is broken and his life is in danger. He also praises God for provision and protection. David was known as a man after God’s own heart.

 1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.   Psalms 1:1-3 (ESV)        pohutukawa-trees-

We too can hold on in faith no matter what the circumstance. It does not mean that everything can be fixed or will turn out the way we want. But it does mean having a life of peace, contentment and purpose.

GIVE THEM ALL TO JESUS    by Phil Johnson

1.  Are you tired of chasing pretty rainbows?

Are you tired of spinning ‘round and ‘round?

Wrap up all the shattered dreams of your life

And at the feet of Jesus lay them down.

  Chorus

Give them all, give them all,

Give them all to Jesus

Shattered dreams, wounded hearts , and broken toys.

Give them all, give them all,

Give them all to Jesus.

And He will turn your sorrow into joy.

2. He never said you’d only see sunshine;

He never said there’d be no rain.

He only promised a heart full of singing

About the very things that once brought pain.