So, this is what I'm thinking about today. It's not perfect - I'm still struggling with it, working it out in my head, - there's a tension here that is hard to resolve ("I am awesome and mighty and you can't look at me, but look for me, call out to me and I will help you."?) but this is kinda where I am now:
Storms. I'm not a fan. Of course they are awesomely beautiful - but only if I know I am safe from the wind and the lightening. I don't like storms in my life either. I don't like conflict or great difficulty (no matter what type) swirling around me. When life storms hit I just want to crumple up and hide under the table. And it seems like the storms are more frequent these days - instability in my life leading to those troublesome storms reminiscent of the violent spring storms we find in nature.
I'm tired of the storms. My legs are numb from hunkering down to stay out of harms way. My mind is exhausted from trying to reassure myself that I'll weather this storm too and only be the better for it. My heart is stumbling along, stressed from fear and pain.
That said, yes, storms are beautiful. Humbling.
How have we gone from appreciating the awe of God's power, his majesty revealed, to hiding from the waves and locking ourselves up tight to be safe?
The two just don't seem to fit - at least not in my life right now. But, the other day, as I was listening to a sermon (which didn't really go THAT direction btw) it struck me.
God is in the storm. This is a teaching time. And he's there the whole time. I mean, look at the night Jesus walked on the water.... the disciples were in that boat in a hell of a storm, totally freaking and probably thinking they were going to die for sure. And as the storm raged they tried to see through the waves and the wind and the mist, looking for any glimpse of salvation. Trying desperately to see land. And what did they see? More wind. More rain. More lightening. And a faint hint of something just beyond the waves, moving on the water. Passing them by. And they were afraid.
God is revealing himself to them in this storm. Right in the middle, in the height of the storm when they are beginning to give up hope; right then they strain one last time to see salvation and see God. He is there. Right there. Not pushing himself on us, or begging us to notice him. He's there in the thunder, in the pounding of the waves, in the flash of the lightening - that is the evidence of his power. God is passing by. So awesome and frightening we need to turn our face away. It's now we need to remember to look for Him. To be still and listen. The compassionate savior wants more than anything to calm the seas, climb into our boat and be with us. How many times does he pass me by because I'm not looking? Or I've given up. Or I'm so terrified of the storm that I refuse to come out from under the covers? Or I'm mad at him, and I'm determined to fix it on my own?
The storm calls our attention to God. To his working. To his power. To what he wants us to know. He is fearsome and awe inspiring - even terrifying, and he wants something from me - something that I may not want to give. And just through the waves, just as like Peter I am starting to go under, I see the compassionate savior waiting to rescue me. And I need to call out to him, to invite him to help me through this storm. Calm the waves. Otherwise in great sadness he will pass me by. And the storm will continue to rage....
Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."