Updated: Mar 2, 2019
We are deep into Hurricane Season. It is barely September and we have already experienced the devastation of two CAT 4 and 5 hurricanes. Houston is under water, Florida is struggling with heavy traffic and high gas prices as her residents evacuate. The Mayor in Miami is calling Irma a "Nuclear Hurricane" as she barrels toward the US coast. Add to this the states of Montana, Washington, Oregon and California that are facing the loss of home and life from wildfires. And now Mexico is reeling from a magnitude 8.2 earthquake and 3.3' tsunami.
You may be asking: “What is going on?”
Some blame it on global warming, others call it the end of times. And perhaps they are both right, but we cannot focus on the “what” or even the “why.” Instead I would like to encourage that we focus on the “WHO”.
We aren’t promised a life free from trouble, in fact, just the opposite. James knew about trouble and shares some encouragement in the book with his name.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. James 1:2
Joy in a trial? Really Lord? (Head turns on a swivel.)
In looking at the weather forecast, my faith is tested. Joy is hard to find. So many people look in the face of these natural disasters and find themselves afraid, worried. Many are losing their homes, their lives.
Under water, under stress, it’s hard not to ask, “WHY GOD?”
I have to admit when the storms of life barrel down on me, it’s hard not to ask “WHY GOD?”
We have six months remaining on my son’s sentence. And truth be told, we are all weathered a bit. He is tired, discouraged and can only see the day to day monotony and disappointment that has followed him for five and a half years. We can only see him every six weeks or so and have no phone contact. We try to send letters and books; but honestly, encouragement is few and far between.
I get the question all of the time, “How do you do it? I just don’t know if I could endure.”
What choice do I have? The thought of giving up is not even an option. I know that others might, the weight can often be more than we can bear. But he is my son, more importantly he is a child of God who loves him unconditionally. If Jesus never gives up, who am I to do so?
But I cannot grow numb either. The storms of life, they have a way of weathering us over time, creating shadows in our life that make it way too easy to hide.
I cannot stand in the shadow of the storm. I have to instead rise above it. I have to focus on the WHO. BUT HOW?
Father, there is so much pain, there is nothing I can do, OR IS THERE?
Tucked quietly away in the book written by the brother of Jesus, James shares the secret to rising above the storm, “The testing of our faith produces perseverance. And it is perseverance that will make us mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3-4
PERSEVERANCE- a long word that packs a punch. Say it three times fast. Let it soak in, memorize it. God doesn’t call us to be silent or even on the sidelines. He calls us to be in the game. He tells us to be strong, courageous, to wear our armor and TO PERSEVERE.
James is calling us to action here. Consider him sitting across from you at a coffee house as he says, “So you’re faced with a trial (insert trial here), we all have ‘em, so face it with your helmet on. Know that you will be tested. The storm is coming whether we like it or not. So face the storm like the warrior you are. The longer you stand, the stronger you become so that you can face the next storm. And then, at the end of the day, you can face any storm.
ANY STORM? Yes any storm. And guess what? We don’t have to do it alone. Now it’s time to focus on the WHO.
James goes on to say, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. BUT when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5-6
God calls us to seek Him, to ask Him and to BELIEVE Him.
Once again, this is not a passive action. This isn’t standing in the storm and allowing it to batter you. God is calling us to ASK HIM to join us in the challenge. We are inviting Him and trusting that He will fortify us in the storm. We are believing that He will face the winds with us head on. He may call us to evacuate with Him as He guides us through the storm. Sometimes He will place us behind Him in protection. At other times, He will go behind us and encourage us to step out in faith. And then still other times, He will hold and comfort us as we face storms that are just too much for us to bear.
He is our hiding place. We can trust Him to guide and protect us in this and every other storm that we face.
Are your edges weathered? Do you too need a fresh anointing of His Love and Grace as you face your storm?
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Psalm 91:1-2
Will you pray with me?
Abba Father, please hold me. The storm is facing me down. I cannot do this on my own and truth be told I am afraid and I am worried. My edges are worn and I am weary as the storm has weathered me down. But Abba I lay these down at Your feet. I lay down the storm, my fear, my worry and I give them to You. I believe God that You will deliver me from the storm. I believe that You will give me the strength to endure, the courage to stand firm and the perseverance to continue. I believe that You will guide and direct me through this and every other storm that I face. I can do all things through You, God.
Father, we lift up all who are facing the effects of Harvey, Irma, Jose, the earthquake in Mexico and the fires that are raging. Please encourage them, protect them and grant them peace. Grant us all the strength to stand with our brothers and sisters in their time of need. Help us all to be awakened to Your call and keep our eyes on You. With all that we have with all that we are God we will not let the storm weather our heart or allow the darkness beat us down. May we all be reminded of Your great LOVE as You walk with us through these storms. We give it all to You God.
In Jesus' Name