After a big storm there’s an eerie calm that settles over everything like a comforting blanket. It feels almost dream-like. It goes from chaos, pounding rain, roaring wind, darkness, and being trapped inside the house, to stepping out to feel the warmth of the sun on your face, and complete silence. The crickets, cicadas, frogs, and birds don’t dare break this brief moment of complete peace. Pretty soon you begin to hear the song of a bird here or there. A gentle breeze begins to blow and the frogs, cicadas and crickets aren’t far behind. The squirrels resume their acrobatics through the trees, daring fate as they jump from tree to tree, or tease the dog by running along the fence line. And just like that, nature is back to normal.
My life this year has seen a lot of storms, some huge answers to prayers, some gut wrenching heartache, frustration, love, new friendships…it’s literally been a whirlwind. In that calm that settles in after a storm you have an opportunity to look back and sort through what happened. During the storm you are in survival mode. Day to day living has to continue, you can’t just curl up in a ball and quit. When you get used to living in survival mode and then the calm hits it’s hard to shut off just surviving and get back to living. I feel like I’m coming out of the dream like trance after a storm, where life is supposed to just proceed as normal but I’m not sure how to continue. I look around and see everyone living life and carrying on. I’m stuck in survival mode. I want to stop and enjoy the peace and calm, but if I let my guard down when the next storm strikes I won’t be ready. I had a storm hit this year that shattered me. I don’t like being shattered. But being on guard all the time is exhausting and robs life of it’s joys. Always looking around the corner for what’s coming next.
Isaiah 40:28-31 has always held a special place in my heart. My son recited it when he was baptized and has been his life verse. This morning when I heard it on the radio, it was like the birds began to sing and the gentle breeze began to blow. The eerie dream like fog began to lift. “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.” The first couple verses grabbed me. I needed to be reminded of God’s power. “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,” My pastor used to say that when we read the Bible we usually put ourselves in the place of the hero. We are David in the story of Goliath, we are Daniel in the lions den, when in all honesty we are more likely to be the villain or at best the bystander. Look at the above verses again. In these verses we are the weak, those who have no might, the faint and weary, and we utterly fall. Not really the qualities we like to embrace. We want to be the hero, not the one that utterly falls and shatters. “but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Renew-to resume after an interruption. In other words, this is going to be an ongoing process. His strength doesn’t fail. Mine does. Not only that but with His strength there will be times I soar with Him, and times I run. Then there will be times I will walk. One foot in front of the other days.
In times like these I’m so grateful that He doesn’t expect, nor does He want me to do life in my own strength. If we look closer at the stories in the Bible with “heroes” like David and Daniel we find that God was truly the hero in the story. The one that stepped in and saved them. It wasn’t in their own might but in their faith in a God who is all powerful. God is always the hero who comes in and saves the day. I need to be prepared because the storms will hit, but ultimately the best way to be prepared is have my faith secure in the God I serve. And until the next storm I will rest in Him and enjoy the peace for the time I have it.
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