Tuesday, August 4, 2015

When you need to hold on to something......

Because of the unpredictability of New Zealand weather patterns, there's a very good possibility of getting suddenly wet in the winter if there are any clouds in the sky.  I know this, yet since we've been having some lovely days I tempted fate and went for a walk sans rain jacket or umbrella.  About as far as I could get away from my car and other places of real shelter along the path--you know where I'm going with this-- the sun disappeared, a piercing wind picked up and rain pelted.  All within about thirty seconds.  I huddled, somewhat effectively, under the branches of a small tree and waited.

Those minutes huddled under a tree became a gift.  As the rain sheeted, the tree-space became a little bubble of peace.  I recognized the beauty around me, smelled the cleansing scent of the rain, felt the invigorating wind---and was reminded of the One who calmed the wind and the waves.

There's a peace and purpose that can be found just through being sheltered in the midst of a storm.  

"God's purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now.  If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the purpose of God is being accomplished in me.  What He desires for me is that I see 'Him walking on the sea' with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having that absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see 'Him walking on the sea.' It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.  God's purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now."
~Oswald Chambers

We often have it backwards. We see 'victory' and 'success' as the goal when in God's eyes it's the process. If there were no storms, we wouldn't recognize the power of His hand.  If there were no battles, our level of trust would never be tested.  

I don't mind trusting people for some things even if they don't come through, if I know that their intentions are good.  But that's no place to put our trust of the 'life and death' on.  God is the only one whose intentions can be trusted because He is unfailingly capable to follow through to the result. Every time.  So when God means something 'for the good,' you can count your life on the fact that it is good---even if it's hard to see that in the middle of the storm.  

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling."
~Psalms 46:1-2

Or as Sarah Young so eloquently put it:

"The only thing you can grasp without damaging your soul is my hand."

In Psalms 55 David talks about trembling, horrors, terror of death, the betrayal of a friend.  He compares the place that he is in to a place full of oppression, fraud, raging wind and tempest.  These are intensely awful things, yet things that we, as part of humanity, can relate to.  But then David said this:

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you;
he will never permit the righteous to be moved."
~Psalms 55:22

And then in Psalms 56:9

"This I know, that God is for me........"

God, infinitely powerful, exceedingly wise, knower of all things past and to come God----- is for ME.  He's for YOU.  He's for US.  And "If God is for us who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31) What a thing to grasp hold of.  My God is 'for me.'  He's on my side.  He's my biggest fan.  His intentions and execution of those are always for the good.  Always.  He's got it.  

He's there in the storm holding out His hand, the only thing worth grasping.  Even if we're not sure what's ahead we can find shelter and peace in the midst of the storm.  

We need to stop making the end of the storm the exclusive goal and find Him in the process.  And there's peace and grace for TODAY that we wouldn't have found otherwise.  

Photos by Anita van der Mespel