How do we count the ways God loves us and looks after us in life’s storms? His love is wider than the ocean, deeper than the sea, with wonder working power in the blood of the Lamb that was shed for you and me. He is the Good Shepherd who loves being closely connected to all His sheep so precious in His sight: red, yellow, black, and white! Yet, peace and happiness here (even in storms) only come when we trust, obey, honor His Word and way.
His Son, Jesus, shared a story that can be read in the Bible about the Shepherd who realized one of His sheep was lost. He left the 99 to rescue the lost sheep. God is always watching and waiting to enter our hearts with eternal protection and peace provided, compliments of His Son who died on the cross for our sins. Are you lost, sinking in sin, seeking peace in storms that never cease? Talk with Jesus, tell Him your troubles (He already knows your story), repent of your sins, ask Him to come into your heart, make Him Lord of your life, and enjoy living life out loud in love – even in life’s storms.
God was with us through the storm named after the 13th letter of the alphabet! Matthew, classified a category 1 is one we will never forget. Many things happened that you and I – nor our elders – have ever seen before. Still in shock, many people lost homes, businesses, even loved ones in the wake and aftermath of Matthew. How can one process the devastating wind and water that wrecked our world? Feeling sad from sights seen on FB and internet, most of us are seeking ways to go forth in faith. Good hearted people rise up, as did the flood waters, with humble hearts and helping hands in times like these. Have you witnessed people and possessions lost in the storm, and people giving help and hope in ways we never would have imagined? I have!
Sharing stories of every heroic, kind, loving, selfless act shown by precious people throughout our great city and county could keep me writing and you reading for a long, long time. For sure, we have amazing yarns to spin and stories to pen. Each personal story is important and should be shared. Sadly, many of the greatest ones can be overshadowed or never told. While great stories are being birthed in our neck of the woods as I write, so are gruesome ones that send shivers down one’s spine. How can people fight and fuss, gripe and groan, lament and loathe when praising God and putting others before ‘oneself’ is the right thing to do anytime, but especially in times like these? Praying, politely waiting one’s turn – and on the Lord – ‘for such a time as this’, putting things in proper perspective, practicing humility, and praising God for taking us through storms. He is our ticket to Higher Ground, where we will be safe and secure forever and ever!
The greatest love story ever told tells about Jesus, our Savior, who modeled the life He hopes we will live through all seasons. Sunshine and fair weather make for comfortable chapters with little hardship. During adversity and awful storms come powerful, sweet stories of survival and soldiers of the cross doing good deeds. Stories we have witnessed in our little corner of the world the past seven days.
Every person reading today’s column can think of countless storm stories, but there is one great story brewing deep inside hearts of each faithful reader that needs to be shared. Believing each story is important, God stirs my heart with a challenge for All His Children to write the most powerful storm story stuck in your heart and send it to Tim’s Gift. We will accept stories (typed or neatly written) until November 14th, one month from today. The top three stories will be shared on our FB page and Tim’s Gift website. Each person who submits a story will be awarded a certificate. Our Board of Directors will choose the top three stories. The writer of the three stories will receive a gift that will be shared on our FB page soon. Each story will be placed inside a notebook titled “Beyond the Storm”! It will be housed in Tim’s Gift Library.
I started this story at 7 a.m. last Saturday morning at Tim’s Gift, while waiting for Adam Bowker to come help me with our web site. Rain pounded but the storm’s path was predicted to turn to the sea. Adam called to say his grandma wanted him to visit her. He promised to help me at noon. So, I settled down to write this story while waiting for Adam and enjoying my quiet time with Thee. Rereading my topic sentence: “What were you doing when Matthew came to town?” (which I taught students for 30 years should powerfully invite readers into one’s story) nudged my heart to go to the hospital and visit a friend I had not seen in years.
“I need to write this story. Now, in the rain?” I questioned.
My heart pounded, as did the rain, with a reassuring, ‘Yes’!
Zipping my rain coat and pulling two containers of home- made soup from the refrigerator, I headed out in the storm. Parking in front of Sampson Regional Medical Center, I remembered when…and wiped tears while racing through the rain. Walking down the hallway on third floor, memories mounted when I passed by the room where James and I spent our last night together. I wanted to run but knew that would give the enemy room to taunt my tender heart. I stood in silence as a supernatural strength rose inside with power and peace that gave me blessed assurance that surpasses all understanding. I spoke softly but sternly to Satan as smiling nurses passed with no clue I was under attack and clinging to Jesus for dear life. Standing in silence with eyes closed and heart opened, I waited on the Lord while thinking of things that were lovely in my life. An instant replay of joyous times with Tim and James flooded my mind with so much love and a message I could hear with the ears of my heart.
“Do not be afraid; I am with you, and I’ve got Tim and James with Me. You will be okay and with them again one day.”
Short as I am, I felt ten feet tall as I walked to Wanda Boyette’s room and shared time with a lady admired and loved by people far and wide. We talked about life and the Lord and the storm. She told me the Lord was her strength and would take us through all storms. I wanted to cry but her faith encouraged me to ‘go and do’ as Jesus taught with every day (gift) He gives. Then, her neighbor, Wanda, and I joined hands to pray.
On the way back to Tim’s Gift, I stopped by Syliva Miller’s office and Sue Week’s home to share a bowl of homemade soup and a big thank you for being faithful friends through sunshine and rain.
Braving the rain bands, I scurried into Tim’s Gift and settled down at my computer to write this story, but Adam came to help me with technology things beyond my understanding. We had a great time talking, working, and ending our time together with a tradition we began two years ago when he started helping us at Tim’s Gift…we held hands and prayed.
And then…I packed up my computer and headed home as the storm brewed bigger than any of us expected. As I finally write this story, only hours before deadline and after power was restored in my home, I am reminded that God’s amazing grace and almighty power trumps anything of this world. May we all securely plug into His power source and stay closely connected to our Lord and loved ones. And then we can weather any storm with peace and promise of our tomorrows…with Him and them (loved ones waiting in Heaven)!
Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gift and The Learning Station.