Do you rely on the Lord to keep you steady through the storms of life? This story stirs while I write and study in the Upper Room while a storm brews outside! Actually, this room is in the tower at Berkley Manor on Ocracoke Island. God opened the door for me to experience GAIN and spend one week studying, writing, reading, relaxing, eating, learning, fellowshipping with ministry leaders, and growing closer to Christ on this barrier island. I am grateful for leaders who listened when God knocked on their hearts to head up this amazing Christian experience. GAIN stands for God’s Anointed In Need. The place where we are gathered is located beside NCCAT, where teachers are renewed and rejuvenated too. Everyone needs a place to experience rest, refreshment and revival. Never have a had the opportunity to spend a whole week in a place like this, except on a mission trip to Belize. Getting away from grueling; schedules may seem impossible when we think things can’t go on if we aren’t there…but it is wise.
Jesus took time away from the crowds, even His closest friends and disciples, to draw close to His Father and to rest. He spent time alone praying and preparing. He was in high demand as word spread of his miraculous healings and parable teachings that people understood and embraced. Jesus’ time was short but He took “Me” time to stay connected to His Father and focus on the work He was sent to do. When we become weary and worn, the work we are called to do suffers. Embrace time away and enjoy your journey.
Focusing on my writing in this upper room was easy until the storm started. Outside, the rough waters and roaring wind toss huge boats and stop the ferry service. I am in awe of the power of the elements and thankful for a safe place to work through the storm.
I flashback to a church service when the preacher told of a huge storm that struck a Midwestern farm. The father called all his children to come home and gathered them inside the big, old farmhouse for safety from the storm’s fury. Kurt, my brother in law, nudged me and said, “that’s the way it should be…families knowing home is a safe place to come together to ride out the storms that can separate and harm them.”! Two years later, Kurt would lose his life in a storm that destroyed his lungs. I will never forget his passion for family and his words that families should stick together through storms.
Storms come when least expected and can linger longer than we would like. In 2006, Tim had finished chemo and radiation treatments and longed to take our sailboat out on the ocean. Brain cancer distorts thinking and reasoning while rousing emotional outbursts that strike like a storm. Tim humbly begged Clint and me to go out with him on the sailboat. So, we did. Clint watched closely as his Dad steered the boat through the rough inlet waters. I prayed for God’s Hand of protection as we passed the last buoy before entering the Atlantic Ocean. Suddenly, the tiller snapped leaving us victims of fierce waves. Clint reacted quickly and started the motor to turn the sailboat around. We were headed home to safety. My heart beat a million miles a minute with thanksgiving for God’s help during the storm of cancer and for keeping us out of the ocean that day.
Our lives are not like ships being tossed helplessly upon the rough seas of life. Jesus is the Lord over every circumstance we face. He is using each difficulty and trial to work out His purposes in our lives – to show us His power, to strengthen our faith, to purify our hearts, to deepen our joy. In his perfect time He will speak His Word over our rough seas, and all will be calm again.
Our storms never pass. We must go through them. We try to wait until the storm passes and stay safe. Life is not meant to be safe – for in our mistakes, errors, and faults we grow and truly live in faith.
The way home is the journey through the storms. The hardest part is believing that you are worthy of the trip. We learn who we are when we weather life’s storms. Without the storms, we cannot know ourselves.
We don’t get lost in the storm…just lost in it! We do not have to fight the storm but must stop feeding it. Do the things necessary to preserve your temple and protect your family. Keep God first and everything else will fall into place, even amidst the storms.
A note of encouragement I found in Sarah’s (James’ first wife) collection of special cards seems fitting to end this story.
“As we travel through life, paths are not always easy nor waters still. Yet when the storms beat the loudest, God, in love draws near and whispers ‘I am here.”
The Lord is in control of all that you are facing, and He will keep you steady through the storm.