Hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, shootings. These are the headlines dominating the news in recent months. Everywhere we look it’s the same. More death, more destruction, and more pain. It’s heart wrenching and depressing.
So what do we do when this world we live in surrounds us with nothing but chaos, terror and tears? How do we find peace in the chaos? How do we find hope and light in the storms of life?
I went to University in Victoria, BC and one of my favorite things to do during a storm was head down to the Breakwater to watch the giant waves crash up and over the sea wall and adjoining lighthouse. The wind was so strong I couldn’t stand without holding on to someone or something. The spray from the waves would soak me as I stood gripping the iron rail along the shoreline. It was exciting and terrifying all at the same time. And as those waves picked up and carried off whatever wasn’t anchored down, I wasn’t afraid because I knew my feet were on solid ground. I was safe where I stood.
In the morning, as light dawned, I was always awed and amazed at the destruction the storm left behind but I was equally amazed by all that was left standing. How does a spindly little tree remain firmly planted while a thick towering cedar topples over roots and all?
Life can feel like a storm at times. It can be dark. It can be scary. And it can toss us about and knock us off our footing. We can either stand firm like the little tree or fall like the giant cedar.
So how do we stand unshaken? What anchors us in the storms? And how do we face all life throws at us and yet still have hope?
When the storms are raging around us it’s easy for us to lose our perspective. Our focus becomes the storm. As grief, anger, and fear grip us we can feel like we’re drowning. Where do we turn? What do we cling to?
Jesus says, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11:28) This can be hard to hear and hard to believe when all we see is the storm. What do we do when we pray for the burden to be lifted and yet continue to feel the weight of it? How do we trust when there’s no end in sight?
We are not promised an easy life here on earth. In fact, Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
This is a promise! And He promises a day when He will wipe away every tear and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelation 21:4) This is what my eyes need to be fixed on.
Think of the Bible story where Peter walked on water. He stepped out of the boat in obedience and faithfulness with his eyes fixed on Jesus. In God’s strength, he did the impossible. He walked on water. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink. Jesus said to him, ‘You of little faith…why did you doubt’? (Matthew 14:28-31)
I’m like Peter at times. I want to trust, and I might step out in faith initially but then I doubt. I forget His promises. I forget His faithfulness. And I let the burdens and worries of this life start to sink me.
So how do I walk through the storm faithfully and obediently? What does it look like to stand unshaken? It doesn’t mean I’m not afraid. It doesn’t mean I’m not angry. It doesn’t mean I have it all together. And it doesn’t mean I’m not shaking as I press forward. But it does mean that I trust Him as Sovereign, have faith in His plans for me, and believe He’s working for my good and His glory. And while we may never have answers this side of heaven we can trust in His character, His plan and His faithfulness. ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ (Jeremiah 29:11)
I can say from experience God is faithful. I’ve experienced His comfort, His strength and His peace. I’ve seen His light shining bright when everything around me was dark. And He’s carried me when I could no longer stand. And I have complete confidence that He will do so again the next time a storm appears on my horizon.
So I choose to trust in the promises of Scripture and live in the hope they offer. A hope that will never perish, spoil or fade. (1 Peter 1:3-4)