Are you going through a storm? Do you feel battered by the modern world’s equivalent of swirling winds and pounding rain in a sea of uncertainty?
I remember the day my dad died. He was there, and then he was gone, and there was nothing I could do to bring him back. The storm of my life followed.
This Father’s Day will be my 14th without him.
Will we survive our storm? We may sense that we will, but we cannot see how nor know when our misery and desperation will end. In the meantime, we white knuckle the experience. But is peace possible in the storm?
I was in a literal storm a few weekends ago, caught out on a Mississippi lake up to a mile from shore. We saw the cloud bank and then heard thunder.
“Is that rain?” I asked my husband.
I gestured to a wall of gray way ahead of us but on the lake. He affirmed my suspicion. I braced for the discomfort. I’d been caught in rainstorms before, but never on a lake.
The rain fell on my face and arms like a shower of needles. I reached over and clasped my husband’s thigh. He gripped the boat’s steering wheel. While I closed my eyes, it was all he could do to see.
He steered to avoid stumps and trout lines as the wind jostled his 17-foot-long boat. I predicted we’d survive, though I couldn’t be sure. I shivered, my clothes soaked.
I thought of the biblical passage in the book of Matthew where the disciples are caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus is undisturbed. He is sleeping while they worry their very lives are at stake. They wake him and then insinuate he is unconcerned about their plight.
“’You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’” Jesus replied. “Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.”
The picture of a storm is frequently used to describe our internal or external struggles apart from what the weather brings us.
I heard Christian music artist Hope Darst’s Peace Be Still, several days ago on K-Love radio. In my head, I put my emotional “storms” I’ve faced and the storm I experienced at Sardis Lake side by side.
“I don’t want to be afraid every time I face the rain,” she sings.
She goes from desiring peace to declaring she’s found its source.
“Even when my eyes can’t see, I will trust the voice that speaks.”
She sings of a way to have peace in the storm.
I know. Don’t you wish you could wrap up fears and find peace in the time it takes to sing a song? I sure do wish I could.
On the other hand, songs like this do help. I sometimes hear a song and bam! My perspective is transformed. My eyes are on God again, not the storm.
No matter how much faith we’ve had in the past, however, sometimes finding peace in the latest storm feels impossible. The “winds” whip up our emotions and the “waves” threaten to wash us from our safe place – a relationship, a home, a job.
Where is peace in the middle of the storms we face? How can we attain inner tranquility in the ashes?
We look to hope. We look beyond the present distress to a time of healing, a time that life will look and feel different.
We look to power. We look to a powerful God, an endlessly capable God who can make impossible things possible – within us and within our outer world.
We look to love. We look to the excessive love of God, a God who offers to walk with us in difficulty and sorrow. Bask in His presence. That’s where peace is.
We look to companionship. We look to friends, family and people who’ve been in storms like us. God gives them to us for comfort and guidance.
I find myself having to revive my hope, having to remember God’s love and power and having to humble myself to seek out friends – even in the same storm. I am a slow learner! But if I had it all together, I suppose I would not need to lean on God. And if I did not lean on Him, I would not learn of Him.
I need the storms. I’m not here sticking my hand up and volunteering for grief, but I know when loss creates a storm, I won’t be alone nor hopeless. Jesus calms the storm.
What is your storm today? I’m here to listen.
Copyright © 2020 by Toni Lepeska. All rights reserved. www.tonilepeska.com