And there will be shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and rain.
Every spring I wait with great anticipation for my irises to bloom. I look forward to seeing them sprout up, as they emerge from their winter slumber. They belonged to my Granny, who I loved and admired so much. And they remind me of how her laughter could fill the room or how her homemade chicken and dumplings were the best around. My heart is full of these memories and so many more. And I always feel like celebrating when that first iris opens! But this year was a little different, the irises decided to appear on a cloudy, stormy day. The sky was gray and the wind was whipping around. Later, I found out that a nearby town was hit by a devastating tornado. The trees were uprooted and homes destroyed, it was a mess! It’s not surprising to have tornadoes here in Arkansas and Oklahoma because we have a lot of them, but this one was unexpected.
Life is like that too, you just never know when a storm will be brewing. In fact, if you’re not currently right smack in the middle of one of life’s storms, you can bet that one is just over the horizon and headed your way. So today I’d like to talk about how to weather life’s storms.
There is a purpose to life’s storms
There are three kinds of iris in my flower bed. Most of them are yellow with large blooms. Then there’s the tiny blossoms of the small purple irises. But my favorites are the huge white ones. I only have a few of them, but with their giant flowers, they’re showstoppers! What makes them so unique is that they have a special kind of beauty, one you have to really look hard to see. From afar they are completely white, but if you look closer you can see a faint hint of lavender peeking out from the center.
Finding the beauty in life’s storms can be just as difficult. You have to really look close to see it. But the beauty is not in the struggle, it’s in the fact that there is a purpose to life’s storms. God has something He wants to teach us and He has put us in the eye of the storm for a reason.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Sometimes it’s hard to understand how God could cause all things, good and bad to work out in our favor. But because we have been called according to God’s purpose, He promises that He will. Even if we can’t see it now, we can have confidence in God’s ability to use this storm to bring about good in our lives. So I encourage you to look closely at the storm you are facing and discover what God’s purpose for it is.
God is our shelter from the storm
Every year there is at least one tornado that destroys a neighboring city. In the aftermath of the storm, the only thing left standing in a house is the bathtub. That’s why we have storm shelters in this part of the country. If you don’t live in the Midwest, you may not be familiar with storm shelters. They’re big metal boxes with a door that slides shut and they’re buried underground to protect us from the tornadoes. In addition to the shelters, we also have tornado sirens. They’re loud, really loud! When the wind picks up and they go off, that’s our cue to run to the storm shelter and hunker down until the storm passes by.
In the midst of life’s storms God is our shelter. He’s the One we run to for protection when life becomes too much. David knew this very well when he was hiding from Saul and wrote these words.
Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in Thee: And in the shadow of Thy wings I will take refuge, Until the destruction passes by.
What a comfort it is to know that God, the Creator of the universe is our shelter in the storm! He is always there, ready to cover us with His grace. As the storm rages on around you, run to Him and take refuge under His wings until the destruction has passed you by.
Keep looking to Jesus in life’s storms
When one of life’s storms hits us, it may feel like we are being tossed around by the wind and rain with no end in sight. Peter must have felt this way too during the storm on the Sea of Galilee.
And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately, Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14: 29-30
I’m sure we all know this story pretty well, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded to keep looking to Jesus.
Peter started out with his eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and his heart was in the right place. But then he stepped out onto the water and became scared and distracted by the storm raging around him. When he took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink. So he cried out to Jesus to save him. The Bible says that immediately Jesus reached out His hand to help Peter. There was no waiting and no begging, just immediate assistance from the Savior.
It’s so easy to be distracted in the storm. Just like Peter we start out with our heart in the right place and our eyes on Jesus. Then something happens and we look away. We began to sink. And we cry out for Jesus to save us. So He does and we turn our gaze to Him again until the next time a storm hits and we start the process all over again. Jesus is always there with us in the middle of our storm. And He is always willing to reach out His hand and pull us out of the water. Thank you, Jesus!
Luckily for us, storms don’t last forever. They blow in suddenly and leave just as quickly. My irises may have been a little beaten down when the storm was over, but their beauty was still intact. And life’s storms may spin us around like a tornado, but when they’re over, we’ll be just like those irises, standing tall with our beauty intact.
Jesus promised us that in this world we would have tribulation. So, there is no doubt that storms are sure to come our way. But with God’s help we can learn how to weather life’s storms. Be well and keep looking to Jesus!