The clouds poured down rain; the skies thundered.
We’re in a wet weather pattern in my little corner of the country. Day and night storms redevelop over the same oversaturated areas, flooding farm fields and basements. Streams and rivers spill out far beyond their banks...mudslides wreak havoc.
We try to prepare ourselves as best we can for inclement weather. Sandbags are filled and stacked in an effort to hold the rising water at bay. We keep a close eye on the Weather Channel and on the sky. But, try as we might, when torrential rains fall and water levels rise, no amount of preparation can truly ready us for the mess it leaves behind.
And mess is putting it mildly. Those who have experienced flood damage know how grueling storm cleanup is. Mud and sludge must be swept out, ruined carpet and walls torn away, and mold eradicated. Some homes experience such structural damage they have to be pulled down altogether.
The reality is, not one of us is exempt from inclement weather, be it storm patterns on earth or of the heart. Every human being will experience difficulties somewhere along life's way. And despite our longings...pleadings even...to the contrary, God doesn’t always shield us from the storms.
Most of us know this in theory, but, when we are knee-deep in debris, with swirling waters threatening our stability, it can be devastating. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. In times like these we may feel as if God has taken a leave of absence.
But, know this, God made a promise in Isaiah 43:2 that...When you have troubles, He is with you.
He may not spare us from hardship or heartache, but, he does stand beside us, knee-deep in the mud and sludge of life. It is He who gives us the strength to sweep one more shovelful of the muck and mire away. It is he who helps us gather all the shattered pieces scattered after the storm lifts.
He is our refuge in the storm. Psalm 62:8 The strong tower we can run to and feel safe...even as the waters rise. Proverbs 18:10
Frances J. Roberts, in her book On the High Road of Surrender imagines God saying, "Be at peace, My little one, for in Me there is a covert: a secret, hidden shelter, in the storm. My love remains changeless whatever winds may blow. My grace will sustain you however deep may be the night, however fierce may be the trial."
Nothing breathes peace into our aching hearts quite like the sense of God's very real presence in the midst of the storm. Nothing girds up our weak knees and strengthens our feeble arms to face into inclement weather like knowing that we are not alone.
If the storms of life swirl chaotic in your life, dear one, know that I am praying for you. But, more importantly, know that God has got his arms wrapped round you. And he is whispering...
Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strength you and help you. I will hold you steady, I am keeping a firm grip on you.
You are my strong tower
Shelter over me
Beautiful and mighty
You are my strong tower
Fortress when I'm weak
Your name is true and holy
And Your face is all I seek
In the middle of my darkness
In the midst of all my fear
You're my refuge and my hope
When the storm of life is raging
And the thunder's all I hear
You speak softly to my soul
You are My Strong Tower