Hot Coffee During the Storm
One of my most favorite things to do is sit in my sunroom with a hot cup of coffee during a storm. Rain, snow, wind, I love them all and having a freshly brewed cup of coffee during these quiet times is the best. During one particular storm, as I sat with my coffee, I watched the rain pour down into my already waterlogged back yard. It was dumping!! The wind was howling and moving everything in site. It was similar to the scene in the Wizard of Oz when the wicked witch flies by on her bike and the cow flies by, the bushes fly by, the house flies by. I sat, so cozy, warm, thanking God for retirement and the opportunity to sit and watch, rather than be out in the mess. At this time, then, I watched my entire sun awning begin to pull at the deck it was screwed on to. The top ripped off, the poles holding the roof bent, and I knew that if I didn't do something quick, the whole thing would go flying and destroy the deck below as well. So, what did I do? I called out for help.
Storms are something we are promised to have in our human life. Storms of Life, they are often called. They can strike our lives at any time with no warning at all. They can creep into our lives as we choose to disregard the signs that they are coming. We can watch them roll in likes waves crashing on the beach, seeing them get larger and larger as they do. We are promised that we will have trials. 1 Peter 4:12 says, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you." In the last few months I have watched my friends and family faces many trials. Trials of sickness, marriage, jobs, money. I watch as the clouds move over their homes and consume their lives. It's dark; it's confusing; it's out of control and chaotic. And they are at the end of themselves: past their resources, past their strength, past their abilities. The story in the book of Mark tells of the disciples being in this exact type of storm. Jesus has asked them to cross the Sea of Galilee to go to the other side, to a new territory, to share His good news with other people. When the storm hits, the disciples are scared. Jesus is asleep because he has confidence in knowing God will take care of the whole thing, for His purpose. He is sure of God's power and presence.
Our faith in these crazy, disturbing storms is the only thing that will helps us through. We may have friends we will go to for coffee and a good cry. They may even be able to bring us a good word from God himself. We may have a counselor we seek who can help us navigate the storm and put strategies into place. We may find a good worship song that reminds us of God's great grace and we sing at the top of our lungs as we drive and raise our hands high, yet keeping an eye on the road. These are all great ways to deal with the storms, but the only way you will get through the storm is through faith in a Grace filled God.
While in these storms it is often hard to know where to begin and what does our faith in God really look like when we are in a struggle. Now's the time to sit down and really look at your faith. Now's the time to be quiet and ask some questions. Ask Jesus to reveal to you how He might be leading you. Take time to look back and see what things have brought you to the point of the storm. Has he been moving in recent days, weeks, years, yet you have not taken time to see the work he was doing? Ask yourself is He doing a deep work in your character, transforming you, bringing you greater freedom. Maybe there is something in the context of your family that he is doing. Maybe it's at work. Maybe it's opportunities to witness, maybe it's provision, relationships, your health. It could be any number of things. The key is taking time with God to pointedly ask Him to reveal these things to you. He will, that's Grace! Where has God been speaking to you recently? Have you been journeying with him and suddenly you are in the midst of a storm, or were you going along thinking you could handle everything because things were easy and just when you were comfortable you found yourself in a storm? Could it be that God is wanting to do new things in your life and through your life?
Whatever it may have looked like before this storm hit, God is now in the process of waiting for you to have faith in him to take care of the whole mess. The great big question as you ride this storm is, have you lost confidence in Jesus? Life is already a challenge and now you have this storm and you need help. Without that total faith in Jesus, there is absolutely no way to get through it. Jesus wants to know that you believe that when He is calm in the storm it is because he has it under control and has you in his arms. Do you believe that He's got this? Do you believe that He is greater than the storm? Do you believe that He's bigger than your deepest fear, stronger than your greatest enemy. He wants to know how you and He are doing at this moment. He wants to know if you are working on the same page with trust, hope, peace, the things only He can give you. Or are you far away, trying to do it in your own mind and ability and strength?
Jo Saxton, in her sermon, Faith in the Storm says, "Don't doubt in the dark what you heard in the light." In other words, in all your studying, praising, hearing, reading, you know and believe in what Jesus can do for you, but when things get rough, do you forget these things? Does your faith wilt when it's tough. Do you let your faith get drowned in the deluge that is coming down fast and hard?
The waves and the wind obey Jesus. (Mark 4:41) The storm can be settled by Him when you put your complete trust in him. When you come out of the storm, and you will, you will have a greater understanding and a greater confidence in the God of Grace when you have put your faith in him. If you have lost confidence, be honest with Him. He gets it. He already knows it, he's just waiting for you to be honest with him about it. He's waiting for you to lay it all at His feet and let go. Jesus will meet you in the storm and will calm it. He will intervene when you have complete trust in him.
With help, I got that darn sun awning down in the middle of the rain and wind. With help, from the God of Grace, you can walk through the storm. Romans1:17 says, "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.'” We cannot live through the storm through fear, but only from faith to faith.
Now it's time. Get that cup of coffee, take a look at the storm, be honest with God and begin walking with faith. Watch the storm subside!