July 07, 2010

IN the storm

Our tendency is to run away from the storm. We instinctively flee the peril. We assume that safety is outside the danger that surrounds us, but that is not always true. Sometimes, the way to our comfort is through the storm, not around it:

Matthew 14:29-31

"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

I have spent a good deal of my life trying to escape the harm I expect from the trials I face. In my escape, I often run away from God and to something that offers only temporary shelter and comfort. Sometimes God asks me to trust him, and asks me to walk through the storm, in faith, knowing that He has the power to protect me and refine me in my perilous journey.

It takes a good deal of faith and perseverance to point my earthly vessel into the storm and know that He is there, ready to catch me if I falter. I still don't trust Him enough after all these years of Him proving His faithfulness. I guess I have an inner sense of entitlement; that if God really loved me He would never let me suffer. But just the opposite is true—because God loves me, He lets me endure suffering.

David said in Psalm 119:71, "It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes." Sometimes the blast of the fiery furnace refines us by removing the impurities in our character. It may seem as if we've been abandoned to the troubles, but as Job declared:

Behold, I go forward but He is not there,
         And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
When He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him;
         He turns on the right, I cannot see Him.
But He knows the way I take;
         When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:8-10)

No, we haven't been abandoned. Here is what God told the children of Israel through the prophet Isaiah:

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
      O Israel, the one who formed you says,
   “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
      I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
      I will be with you.
   When you go through rivers of difficulty,
      you will not drown.
   When you walk through the fire of oppression,
      you will not be burned up;
      the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
      the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
(Isaiah 43:1-3)

Here is a beautiful song by Scott Krippayne:


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