Last night we had impressive thunderstorms rolling through our area. "Severe" was the word the meteorologists used to describe what was going to come.
Personally, I love thunderstorms - unless they move beyond "severe" and become dangerous and destructive. So, I enjoy the thunder and lightning. I am tempted to open the blinds and watch as much as I can. Night storms limit visibility a bit, but the temptation to watch it happen is still great.
As I woke up this morning - the morning after - I remembered the storm and thanked God for protecting me through the it. Suddenly, this hymn was playing through my head. I hadn't thought of it for years and years. It's titled Precious Lord Take My Hand. It was written by Thomas A Dorsey in 1956 (the year I was born) and recorded by the great Mahalia Jackson on Columbia Records. All through my childhood this song was used at church services and funerals. It goes like this.
Precious Lord take my hand
Lead me on - let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light.
Take my hand Precious Lord
Lead me on
Immediately I was thinking of - not just physical storms - but storms of life and comparing the two. Some physical storms last so long - they destroy whatever is in their path simply because they stay and keep pummeling one place so long. These I call LONG storms.
Then there are storms that are severe and destructive by nature - like a tornado. Wherever they touch down to the ground - the intense force of twisting wind and torrents of water are going to destroy something. They don't have to linger long in order to do it. I call those DESTROYER storms.
Lastly, there are storms that you can tell may leave trees without a few leaves and blow some things around - but all in all - they are PLEASANT storms.
The same happens in our lives. There are times the storm we are going through lasts so LONG - it wears us down and we become weary in the faith fight. The Word talks about a woman that had an issue of blood for twelve years. Now that is a long storm!
"Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse."
We need God, our family and friends to encourage us through a LONG storm - so our faith does not fail.
Some people don't like talk about failing faith. They like to paint their lives as sweet and flower laden. But, the reality is - it's NOT! Theirs isn't! Yours isn't! Mine isn't! But in these times when the storm is so long you think you can't stand another minute - you have to do what the woman with the issue of blood did. She did WHATEVER IT TOOK TO GET TO JESUS!
And we also have to do what David had to do when he and his men came back home from a victorious battle - only to find the enemy had attacked their city Ziklag - in their absence. They burned and pillaged it, took the women and children, and left it in ruins. David strengthened himself in The Lord. The KJV says he "encouraged" himself in The Lord.
1 Samuel 30:6
"Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God."
In other words - he worshipped! Don't wait for someone else to come and feed your faith - although there are times we are knocked so low we can’t get back up on our own. Hopefully this is the exception rather than the rule. Make it a relationship habit to reach out to the God of Heaven yourself. We are not baby birds sitting in a nest with our mouths open screaming! That's fine for a bird - but not for us. We have the undivided attention of Almighty God - Himself!
Sometimes the DESTROYER storm comes into our life with its sudden power. It destroys unmercifully and sometimes leaves us devastated. Lives, possessions, whatever we hold dear in this life can be gone in an instant. The result is a shattered life - debris and shambles are everywhere. All we can do is begin to clean it up and put our lives back together as best we can.
In the face of this kind of storm we must do as Job did. He worshipped! I love this about him. He had DESTROYER storms - one after the other - until his health, family and possessions were gone. One messenger with bad news overtook the one before him.
"Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped."
The last storm is the PLEASANT one. We are like Peter when Jesus called him out of the boat to walk with Him on the water. Jesus knew all Peter had to do was keep his eyes on Him - but Peter didn't know it. Jesus knew this would totally stretch Peter's faith and he'd never be the same. And Jesus also knew - of all the men on that boat - Peter was the one recklessly obedient enough to step out of it and walk on the water!
Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. "
The PLEASANT storm is going to shake things up a bit within us, cause us to reach further to know Jesus in a deeper way and wind up trusting Him like never before.
Whatever the storm may be like that you are going through - your answer is - and always will be - GO TO JESUS! No matter what - worship Him. However long it takes - never stop praising Him. Cause - like the song says - He'll take our hand in the midst of it if we ask Him. And the morning after the storm is over will be sweet.