Proverbs 10:25 (NLT) When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation.
My family thrives on impeccable timing so it was no surprise that my mother’s open heart surgery would coincide with a Category 4 hurricane bearing down on the coast. All went well during the procedure, however; now in the recovery process the hospital is on lockdown. No one comes in or goes out until the danger is gone. My dad and elderly great aunt are hunkered down at home. I am across the state with nothing but a gentle breeze and, of course, unprecedented news coverage to remind me that there is a storm raging. Some folks have decided to ride it out either relying on faith or fate – they will not evacuate despite repeated attempts by local authorities to move them inland. One report quoted a woman referring to the storm as “it was just their turn.” I don’t believe that storms, trials and troubles are a matter of our number coming up or some random drawing like the lottery. I believe that there is purpose and meaning in every moment of our life waiting to be discovered by faith.
“When the storms of life come…” We will encounter inclement weather in life naturally and supernaturally. Times when it just seems there is no relief from the pounding pressure of life. It is just how it goes. Take heart! God is in complete control. His Sovereign Power has not and will not be yielded to another. Our ability to trust the Lord is the only challenge faced in the midst of such times. When the wind swirls around us, the waves kick up in the sea, and the storm clouds gather overhead with booming thunder and crashing lightning threatening our resolve. Where will we run to? Have we found refuge? The natural choices made during a disaster determine our physical safety. How do we protect our heart and mind spiritually to endure such times.
Luke 6:46-49 (NLT) “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in The Rainy Day, “Be still, sad heart, and cease repining; Behind the clouds is the sun still shining; Thy fate is the common fate of all, Into each life some rain must fall, Some days must be dark and dreary.” Into each life some rain must fall. We all experience stormy seasons when our life is turned upside down and it just won’t stop raining. Storms test the foundation of our life and the soundness of the structure in which refuge is sought. I believe that there is meaning and purpose in every hardship and trial of life attributed to this purpose.
“But the godly have a lasting foundation…” Through testing and trials – it seems I have had the “opportunity” to transition my life to a foundation of faith. When it seemed like the storm would surely overtake me and I would drown in my sorrow, it was the foundation called faith that became my only hope. I cannot help but wonder if that is what the “good” that God causes everything to work together for when we are called according to His Purpose. (Romans 8:28) My mother discovered that her aortic valve was 100% blocked just over one week ago. Her aortic valve nonfunctioning. BUT GOD…had provided a tiny vessel to bypass the blockage until it was discovered and to prevent damage to her heart in its insufficiency. Call it coincidence, but I know it was the Lord. At the same time, my mother and father’s small group have been doing a Bible study on trusting God. Coincidence, I don’t think so. Now comes the test. My mom went into her surgery totally trusting the Lord as evidenced by the lack of somberness going in. In fact, my family laughed on the verge of tears right up until she was wheeled back. So far so good, right? Surgery went off without a hitch. Seven hours later, she was in recovery doing well. Praise the Lord! My sister and I spent the night with her. The foundation seems pretty sound. She was in excellent spirits the second day, concerned mostly about the storm coming inland. It is all good so far. Last night, mom hit a wall. She is tired of this whole ordeal. I really cannot blame her. It takes the wind, rain and waves to wash away and remove everything that does not require faith from our life to get to the foundation. Storms of life do that. It is the foundation of faith that keeps us anchored when it seems like we might be going under. This is how we endure. This will be the very thing that allows us to come to the Lord with boldness and confidence no matter what life throws at us.
Matthew 8:23-27 (NLT) Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”
We must not take for granted our faith in life. Like storm supplies, they must be inventoried and tested regularly before the storm comes. Faith is essential to please God. Without faith, it is impossible to do so. (Hebrews 11:6) Yet, we try to do so all the time. We substitute service, religion and lip service for genuine faith that refuses to budge until the storm is over and we are safely on the other side. Instead, in the midst of opposition or adverse conditions, most will panic and try to do something naturally when there is only a supernatural solution – it is called faith. It must be the one true foundation of our life in every situation.
The disciples were with Jesus. The storm was wreaking havoc all around, yet Jesus was asleep. The men panicked and woke the Lord up questioning His Care and Concern for them in the midst of the storm. “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Their lack of faith in the Lord was immediately exposed. Though they walked with Him, talked with Him, witnessed every single miracle, and had intimate relationships with Jesus Christ the man, they still did not have faith in Him. Imagine our struggle to have such confidence when it is our mission to “walk by faith and not by sight.”(2 Corinthians 5:7) We must trust the Lord though we cannot see, feel and touch Him but believe Him just because we know Him. (John 20:29)
Psalm107:28-30 (NLT) “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor!
Driving home in the midst of the evacuation made what usually is a straight shot home, a pilgrimage of sorts. The line of cars, trucks and rvs were endless. People were on the side of the road eating packed lunches and walking their dogs. I was headed home while they were leaving the comforts of theirs wondering if there would be anything left to come home to. My agitation at the delay quickly dissolved remembering just weeks ago, we were the ones in the eye of the storm as it caused massive destruction, power outages, and the link in my own community. I took the time to pray. My heart quickly turned to my mother. Though I cannot do anything to help her physically and she is in excellent medical care, I cannot help but miss her and feel the need to comfort her. I must trust the Lord to heal her body, comfort her soul and encourage her in this process. She told Him that she trusted Him and I must trust the Lord, too.
My first thought this morning was has the storm hit the coast yet. The second was I wonder how mom is. Each day is a test to decide if we will live on a foundation of faith or flounder in worry, fear and doubt. I do trust the Lord. I stand on that decision today knowing that into every life a little rain will fall and sometimes it will come in the form of mighty storms that strip us of all resolve requiring complete trust in the Lord. He is our anchor. Those who fix their heart on the Lord cannot and will not be moved. He is our calm. He creates stillness when others are panicked. Lord, thank you for being a firm foundation. Lord, please protect all those who are in the storm’s path today. Give them comfort and peace in these trying times. Reveal yourself to them so they will find the firm foundation called faith so that hope will be the anchor for their souls.
Hebrews 6:18-19 (NLT) So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.