Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Responding to "tornadoes" {when problems touch down in our life}

I feel like I am reliving the same emotions and heartache from 2 years ago.  I remember well when the bad tornadoes hit Arkansas, and even people who I had come to "know" online were severely affected.

I knew these storms were coming, as I have online friends in OK. They had been preparing for the storms - getting in supplies, making sure torches (flashlights) were working, and making sure they had somewhere to take shelter.

 But, to waken up this morning and hear about, and see, the devastation, is just awful.  A school  - children the same age as our Daniel - destroyed, and many lives lost. Homes torn apart, belongings strewn far and wide.  Cars turned upside-down.  Trees stripped of all their greenery. It is simply awful.

I sit here, in the UK, so very thankful that our weather is so temperate, relative to so many other parts of the world - no strange excesses of heat or cold, wind or hail.  I know we complain about too much rain, or not enough sun.  What is that compared to the awful consequences of living somewhere where the effects of tornadoes are felt?

I feel quite "safe".

Far removed from the horrors of "Tornado Alley".

But, as I sat here thinking about it, not living in an area affected by adverse weather does NOT remove me from the path of other "storms".  "Storms" can come in many forms, and affect our lives in many ways, equally as "destructive".

Family struggles - rebellious children, rocky marriages, rifts with relatives
Personal struggles - emotional hardships, battling with sin, parenting trials, feelings of loneliness, fear or despair.

Financial failures.

Poor health.

Death of loved ones.

The list is endless - the "storms" each of us face, as individual as the person facing it.   The effects equally as devastating as the loss of property faced by many Americans this morning.  A life lost by a storm is no less devastating than a life lost before birth, or through an accident or illness, anywhere else in the world. Any of these things can happen to any of us, at any time - without even a warning that they get before a tornado.

How we respond to these storms should be the same, no matter the nature of it.  Literal, or figurative.

The Bible tells us about storms.  Our minds would quickly jump to the disciples in that little ship, on a stormy sea.

The fear.

The anguish.

The feeling that they would perish.

The doubt.  "Master, carest thou not that we perish?".

But, our minds then jump to the resolution.  A caring, wonderful Friend, who stilled the storms, and stilled the hearts of those He cared so much about.

The winds and waves rebuked.  The storm calmed.

The faithless hearts of the disciples rebuked.  Their hearts challenged.

We need faith in the storm.  Faith to remember that God is STILL in control, even when the storm is raging.  Peace in the storm - remembering that God has us in his hands, and we ARE safe.

When the literal storms are coming, people are urged to take shelter.  Somewhere they are protected from the winds that will sweep across the landscape.  Many are blessed with basements - hidden in the heart of the earth, whilst the tornado rips over the top.  Safe in the hollowed out earth.

Amidst the storms that we face, we have a shelter.

"Thou hast been a shelter for me"
Psalm 61:3

We have a refuge from storms and trials.
"a refuge in time of trouble"
Psalm 9:9

We have a place we can go and hide, when troubles surround us.

"Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance."

Psalm 32:7

I read a great little saying, in a novel about the Amish.  I don't know where it comes from, but the wisdom is plain.

Courage is fear on its knees.

We can take courage when we are fearful, by going down on our knees in prayer, and completely relying and fully trusting in God and His perfect ways.  On our knees, we are right in that secret place - closed in with the Saviour, with our Heavenly Father.

In Colossians 3 verse 3 we are reminded that "we are dead".  Dead to things of this earth. That our affection should be set on things above, not on things of this earth.  If we are dead to these things, then

"your life is hid with Christ in God."

Our whole life is hidden, safely, with Christ, IN GOD!  What safer place could we possibly be?

No matter how the storms are raging around us - what losses we experience - what trials, temptations and torments - we are hidden, safely, with Christ, in God.

Do you have your own, personal tornado looming on the horizon?  Maybe, it's already hit, and you are "pushing up the hatch door" to survey the damage? Maybe you are trying to clear up the mess it has left behind?

No matter your circumstances, you can hide in Christ.  You take refuge in the one who holds all things in HIS hand.  The one who calmed the storm for the disciples, and breathed hope and peace into their hearts, will do the very same thing for you and I.

1 Rejoice, believer, in the Lord,
who makes your cause his own;
the hope that's built upon his work
shall ne'er be overthrown.
2 Though many foes beset your road,
and feeble is your arm,
your life is hid with Christ in God
beyond the reach of harm.
3 Weak as you are, you shall not faint
or fainting, shall not die,
Jesus, the strength of ev'ry saint,
will aid you from on high.
4 Thou unperceived by mortal sense,
faith sees him always near,
a guide, a glory, a defense;
then what have you to fear?
5 As surely as he overcame
and triumphed once for you,
so surely you that love his name
shall in him triumph too.
John Newton

1 comment :

  1. Beautiful post, Caroline. Thanks for sharing that Christ-like perspective.