Peace in the storm

I’m listening to the thunder and watching lightning streak across the grey sky. Soft rain falling softens the edges just so much. The thunder just cracked so loudly that the doves in the fig trees flew away. I love this weather. It’s loud and vibrant and life-giving. Everything looks clean and smells fresh. I don’t hide from it, rather I embrace it and enjoy it. Can I say the same about the storms in my emotional life? A friend told me that her mother used to run from room to room covering the mirrors when there was a thunder storm. A neighbour used to hide under a bed. When Jesus was in a boat on the stormy sea with His disciples He lay down and went to sleep. They became so afraid that they woke him up and he rebuked the storm. I wonder how the disciples reacted to storms after that day. Were they still afraid or did they remember what Jesus had done and put their trust in Him?

We have all been through storms in our lives, big ones, small ones, bad ones and long ones that felt like they were never going to end. Sometimes they’re just a storm in a teacup and they’re over almost before they begin. Whatever the nature of the storm, it’s not really the storm that’s the problem, our reaction to the storm is what determines the outcome. Do we rush around trying to cover the ‘mirrors’ which we think will attract more trouble? Or do we simply hide our heads in the sand and wish the storm will go away? Maybe we frantically confront anyone who is willing to listen to our troubles. We could withdraw from the world and sit and worry. Which of these methods will make the storm pass? Not one. They are going to have no influence at all. Well they wouldn’t have an influence on the troubles we’re facing, but they might make our lives even more difficult, and even the lives of those around us. No amount of manipulation, worry or shouting is going to do the slightest bit of good.

Psalm 32:6 – 7: For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when you may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters They shall not come near him. You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.

I think these verses make it very plain. We need to trust God and not worry or rant and rave or blame or manipulate. We just have to embrace Jesus in the storm and we will come out whole on the other side. If we hold on to Jesus in the storm we will be able to get through it without fear. We will grow in the storm because storms are loud and vibrant and life-giving.

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Spiritual drought

I was watering the garden begin the shop in the late afternoon. I just took two small buckets and gave the plants the bare minimum of water. I didn’t have the time or the inclination to do more. Everything is really extremely dry because of the lack of rain and also because of my lack of care.
God showed me that the church is like my garden. The people who haven’t given up of the church and left, are barely holding on. Their roots are even drying out. Their leaves are wilting or brittle. They aren’t receiving the water of the Holy Spirit, the living water that they so desperately need in order to grow.

The caretakers of the garden (church) don’t take the time or have the inclination to spend time in the Word to get filled up and to bubble over and spill over. The people who are sitting in the pews are satisfied with the scraps because they haven’t received the real life-giving water for so long that they don’t know any better. They aren’t reaching out and searching for more. Complacency has set in and apathy is the order of the day. If the gardener isn’t excited about growing plants how can the plants be excited, and if he convinces the plants that they are receiving enough water who are they to argue?
The other thing I noticed was that there were thorns sticking into the soles of my shoes. They are very aptly named devil’s thorns. Picking up ‘thorns’ is very easy when there isn’t any nourishment and water.
For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
Proverbs 1:32