Finding Shelter in the Storms of Life

 

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

My husband and I are motorcycle enthusiasts, and for years we enjoyed long-distance rides with our friends Marcia and Steve. On one occasion when we were riding in Colorado, an electrical storm bore down on us when we were riding through a vast expense of open road. We could see the fury of the storm headed our way and immediately looked for shelter to find protection from the deadly lightening bolts striking the earth.

Over the course of my life, I’ve faced personal storms. Many have felt deadly, and I’ve pleaded with God for shelter. But the storm I faced in Colorado, as well as others taught me an important lesson.

Experiencing God’s shelter in times of crisis isn’t a passive experience.

Finding shelter requires us to seek God.

That day on our motorcycles, we saw danger and quickly began to look for shelter. We didn’t expect someone to bring a building and erect it over our heads. Finding shelter was our responsibility. We needed the discernment not to look for a building with a steel roof or to park our bikes under a cluster of tall trees. Too often when we’re in a place of crisis, we throw up prayers asking for protection, but then we go and do something foolish, like sitting down next to a body of water during an electrical storm.

God is our only source of safety.

When we understand this is true, we focus our eyes on Him. We trust His character. We listen for His voice by spending time in prayer and in the Word.  Is this easy when we’re hurting? No. It’s easier to pull the covers over our heads and feel like a victim or blame God for the pain. It takes concerted effort to direct our burdened heart away from our sick child, our wayward spouse, our unpaid bills, that new diagnosis, our broken heart. But focusing on God does not mean covering our eyes in the storm and pretending it’s not there. It means trusting His goodness, mercy, and love to be our shelter in the storm.

 

Finding shelter means choosing to trust God’s immeasurable love when circumstances don’t make sense.

The world will never make sense. Circumstances will always break our hearts because the world is infested with sin, and the final solution to sin isn’t put into motion until Jesus comes again.

Our only shelter, our only hope, is God’s love, which is beyond our ability to comprehend. His love, His mercy, and His grace are our shelter. That day in Colorado, we drove for miles looking for shelter, but God promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him, and He will be our refuge and strength (Ps. 46:1).

How have you found shelter in God? We’d love to hear from you.

Trusting When You Can’t See

I was angry at God but afraid to say so.

Wouldn’t my anger be a betrayal? Would it send a message that I wasn’t trusting God?

My very dear friend had lost her baby in the final month of pregnancy. In an added twist of grief, she carried the baby for days before she was induced to deliver her dead child. Weeks later her husband caught a flu bug that took his life. His spleen had been removed when he was younger, and his body lacked the ability to fight the infection.

My friend’s world spun out of control.

Reeling with grief, she ran…from God. From friends. I didn’t see or hear from her for over thirty-five years. Every time I thought about her, my heart broke. The last time I’d seen her, she’d been lost and distant. For decades I asked God how this could make sense, and I prayed for her son and daughter, toddlers who had played with my children nearly every day.

God was in control. I just couldn’t see it.

He never left my friend’s side. He took her home to family, to a good church. She poured her life into knowing God, into her son and daughter. God brought her a new husband. Her children became involved in Christian ministry and married wonderful spouses. God gave my friend a new husband, who has blessed her life for 25 years.

Right when I needed it most, God pulled back the curtain.

I love that God can and does use anything–asses, stones, fish and bread, even Facebook. One of my Facebook friends who I’ve known for several years has connections to a tiny town in Michigan…and his mother’s name is the same as my friend’s…and his first name is the same as that toddler who played with my kids.

Not only has God led me back to my friend, but I already know her son.

Love-fest reunion scheduled for later this week. Public not invited.

God didn’t owe me answers, but I’m ever so grateful for this one. He can be trusted when we can’t see. He is always working in ways we cannot see.

 

Why “Resting” in God Requires Work: The Truth about Trust

GodIsGoodThe last few weeks of my life, my faith has been challenged by the thing docs found snuggled up near my brain stem. They diagnosed it as a glioma (not good) and told me that removing it was too dangerous because of the location.

Pretty stinky news–almost identical to a medical diagnosis I’d been given fifteen years ago.

Fifteen years ago, I freaked out (as spiritually as possible–but it was a freak-out, for sure. I didn’t want to die.

And I still don’t want to die.  But this time, instead of freaking out, I experienced that thing the Bible calls “peace that passes understanding.” I can thank the prayers of thousands of friends and loved ones, in part, for that gift of peace. It wasn’t something I “worked up” on my own.

The peace I experienced was a supernatural gift. But at the same time, I was also given choices every day in how I would respond.

The truth is that “resting” in God requires work on our part. And I went to work, based on what I’ve always staked my life upon: God holds my life in his hands; He is GOOD; the world we live in is sin-cursed, broken, and a dangerous place to live–and God is with us in the sucky parts, bringing about good things beyond what we can imagine.

So what did I do, and what can YOU do to do your part to rest in God when life just plain hurts?

  1. Resting requires you to choose your focus. I choose to minimize circumstances that were out of my control and focus on unshakable, TRUE things: Who God has always proven to be in my life and who he promises to be in his Word: loving, faithful, and trustworthy–a God who knows my suffering and responds to my needs.
  2. Resting means choosing weapons. I chose Scripture-based music (it’s still hard for me to read) filing my thoughts day and night. I chose to FOCUS on things of God a thousand times a day, visualizing Jesus sitting at my side or holding me in his arms, because he is there with me every moment.
  3. Resting means putting your faith in things you cannot see. I am a control freak. My mantra has become, “I can’t control that. Take it, Jesus.” It doesn’t matter if the kitchen floor is gritty (Welcome to Michigan winter) or if I don’t accomplish a list of tasks today. My job is to love God by loving people. No one can block that goal in my life.

So THANK YOU, friends, for your prayers. I have peace. I’m resting. I’m choosing my focus and my weapons and putting my faith in Jesus.

 

What about YOU? Do you struggle with trust and rest? What weapons are you choosing?