"for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1: 6b-9
Storms of culture and of life seem to play havoc with us as we are tossed about and blown asunder from without and within. As we look at the wild waves threatening to overcome us, panic is a natural response. Fear paralyzes.
It is so unpleasant and causes such anguish to be tossed about. The terror grips our heart and steals away all hope.
Two of my sweet friends were diagnosed with cancer this week. Another two friends have mysterious tumors-one in her lungs and the other in her liver. Two husbands lost their jobs. All have small children. Another friend far away is leaving her husband to pursue her own dreams.
I wish for and hope for my sweet friends to be comforted as the storms are raging, and I pray for them to know His presence in the midst of their storms. And so here are my prayers for these precious ones.
Jesus tried to help us understand and know that this place on earth, was a place where sadness would abound.
But He is with us and so compassionately cares. He cries with us, He sympathizes with us, It is why He came.
Jesus said, "In this world you will have tribulation." He never promised that this world is the place of fulfillment and bliss.
Yet, we can so easily imagine it--what would fulfill and make us happy. Why? Because we were originally designed for pleasure, love, goodness, joy. Satan would love us to think that our precious Lord has forgotten us.
But He came so that we would not feel alone.
One of the reasons he came as one who was humble, afflicted, persecuted, killed--was that He wanted us to know that in all of our afflictions, He was our brother. He understands. He has mercy.
In the midst of the raging storm that the disciples faced, even with Jesus in their midst, their hearts were overcome with panic and terror.
Jesus was there, waiting to bring calm. "Peace, be still." He called out over the waves and they obeyed him.
He is in our midst. Psalm 139 tells us, "Where can I go from thy spirit? Where can I leave from thy presence? Even the darkness is not dark to thee and the night is as bright as the day."
Three things I am learning to do in the midst of my own storms.
1. Remember and list in your journal all of the ways, in your lifetime, you have seen God's faithfulness and answers to prayer. This is why our family celebrates family day. Even in the most difficult years, we could look back and see His handprints in our lives--He was always there, He was always providing. He looks upon us with compassion.
Once, as a little girl, I had double pneumonia, was gasping for breath in an oxygen tent, and feeling scared. But then, I heard a familiar sound. My father, a business man, wore wing-tip shoes, and above the noise and spew of the oxygen, I heard the stout sound of His shoes, chipping down the hall way toward my room, and my heart was immediately at ease. I thought, "Now Daddy is here. He will be sure they take good care of me. I will be ok."
And so, we need to listen for the wing-tip shoes of our heavenly Father who is coming to our rescue. He will take care of us and we will be ok.
2. Find a promise, hold fast to His word.
Have you ever been in the car with your children and all of them start speaking to you at once and continue speaking as though you can hear their voice above the roar? Too many voices keep us from hearing. And so the voices of the world, of fear, of what ifs, all speaking at once drown out His voice, the only one who is truth and who will bring wisdom. So, we must still our lives and sit quietly that He may speak to us.
"I will never leave you or forsake you." Hebrews 13:5
"If God is with us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own son, but delivered him over for us all, how will He not freely give us all things?" Romans 8: 31-32
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you." Isaiah 43:2
Allow the Holy Spirit to comfort you and fill your heart with the peace and calm of His strength and presence. If we look to outer circumstances for our happiness and peace, we will always be defined by the limitations and battles raging in a fallen, sinful world.
But if we look within, still our hearts, wait to hear His voice, we will perceive that the Lord of Hosts is with us, that His Holy Spirit is there waiting to speak peace, healing, strength, love and life into our hearts and into our circumstances, while we wait on Him and behold His salvation and comfort.We are not alone. He is faithful.
3. Determine to hold fast and to be a courageous warrior in your battles.
Memories of my family and friends have been flooding my mind this week as I move toward my mom's memorial service.
The life of a distant relative has been on my mind. He was a man who lived a life of great faith, for many years, bringing light into darkness, redeeming, loving. But he became weary of the battle and instead of staying strong, he gave up. Consequently, his legacy, by which he will be remembered, is of quitting.
All of the soldiers who saw Goliath and ran away from him, will never be remembered. We do not know their names. But we do know the name of a valiant young warrior named David. He saw the same giant, but faced him.
"You come to me with speer and sword." (the weapons and strength of the world--even a giant is the power of the world's way)
"But I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts."
David did not picture his own strength, but instead pictured the Lord and thousands and thousands of angels behind him. And so he has a legacy of faith and saw God work.
Do not give up your legacy of a story of faith. Your children are looking to your story to give them courage in the story they yet will yet live. Hold fast, find a friend to pray with, stand strong. Today is the day you have to proclaim His faithfulness in your own life for all generations to see. What a shame if we all gave up--there would be no stories of His strength, grace and truth.
So, find a way to stay strong. Pray every day with a friend. Fill your mind with beauty, songs, stories of those who have gone before us. Rest deep inside your heart and see His love for you.
Right in the middle of the boat, deep in the midst of the storm, Jesus was resting, sleeping, in the arms of His Father, knowing He was not alone, and understanding that His Father's strength would calm the storms.