Saturday, June 13, 2015

Faith to Weather the Storm

Have you ever experienced things in your life you just don’t understand?  I’m sure it is safe to say most, if not all of us, have experienced those moments. Those moments where you want to ask God “why” and “how come”?  Those moments where there is very little peace and understanding in your soul.  Those moments where you are in the middle of a dark and looming storm!   

I wish I could say that I am the one who does not ever feel these things.  But that would be a lie.  I have been having many heart-to-hearts with God lately…trying to understand some trials that have been plaguing me.

Yesterday, my friend sent me a text telling me to listen to a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lessons from Liberty Jail”.  She knew that I have read and listened to this talk several times before.  In fact, it is one of my favorite speeches.  But, she also knows that we can read something numerous times and learn something new each time. And this time was no different.

While reading this speech, I noticed a couple of things I had not pondered before.  One of those things is from this statement, “And they will remind you that God often ‘moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.’  As I looked at the footnote it referenced a hymn called, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.”

This morning as I was looking over Facebook, I discovered an inspiring short new video about a woman who survived the Oklahoma tornado in May, 2013.  It is called,  “After the Storms”.  In this video there was also a reference to this same song.  I have never even noticed or sung this song before that I can recall.  So I decided I had better look the song up.  Here are the lyrics:

                                                       God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

As I read the lyrics to this song, I started to think about a post I did called Trusting God.  At times, it is so hard to trust Him when everything is so bleak…especially in the middle of our storms.  In that post I shared the following story: 

“The great prophet Moses was visited by angels and invited to come to heaven.  While there he noticed God giving orders to some of his angels.  Curious, Moses asked if he could accompany an angel on his mission.  The Lord was reluctant at first to send Moses, claiming that he would not be able to understand what the angels had been sent to do, but with further pleading he finally consented, with a condition.  Moses must promise not to question the things he would see.  To this Moses agreed and soon found himself flying with the angel down to earth.

They first flew over the water until they came to a small fishing boat upon which seven poor fishermen were trying to catch their daily sustenance.  As they flew nearer, the angel looked upon them and waved his arm.  Immediately the ship broke in half and all seven of the humble fishermen drowned.  Moses was stunned at this and began questioning the angel. The angel reprimanded Moses, reminding him of his promise, and they flew on in silence.

The second circumstance found them flying over the desert near a small village.  Walking down a dusty path was a young boy of about ten.  As they flew by, the angel once again waved his arm and the young boy dropped dead on the path.  Moses was again astonished at the irrational behavior of the angel and began to protest loudly until the angel again silenced him by reminding him of his promise to the Lord.  A quiet but angry Moses continued on the journey with the angel, confused that the Lord would send an angel to work such destruction and sorrow upon innocent people.

The third episode involved a small family living on the outskirts of a large city.  Along the caravan road entering the city lived a poor widow and her only son.  They were desperately poor and lived solely upon the meager harvest of a small garden scratched into the dust of their backyard.  The garden was alongside an old stone wall erected to separate the home from the caravan route into the city.  As Moses and the angel flew by, he once again waved his arm, and the stone fence fell into the widows garden, destroying all the produce.  At this unexpected turn of events, Moses could no longer be silent in his protesting and the angel took him back to heaven and to the Lord.

Moses asked the Lord why he would do such things, and the Lord reminded him of the warning that he would not be able to understand the workings of God.  After further protests, the Lord decided the only way to teach Moses would be to send his again with the angel, this time to see things he had not seen before.

Once again Moses and the angel flew over the water where the fishermen had perished.  Debris and wreckage still floated on the surface of the water.  As Moses watched, he saw something that he could not see the first time.  Far over the horizon, just barely in view he noticed another boat.  The angel allowed Moses to see what would have been had he not been sent of God.  The other boat was full of pirates, and Moses knew that the fishermen would have been captured, tortured, and sold into slavery had the Lord not in his mercy chose to bring them home.

They then passed the young Arab, still lifeless along the desert path.  Moses was allowed to see that later that same afternoon this young boy would have accidentally killed his brother.  According to the custom of the village, he would have been disowned by his family and made an outcast in the town, being forced to make his living begging in the streets until death from disease freed him from his misery.

Finally, they flew over the widow’s garden, where the woman and her son were struggling to salvage something from the chaos that was once their garden.  As the young boy dug away the earth under a large rock, he noticed a small cache.  Investigating further he found a small chest.  He called to his mother, and they looked inside and found a treasure trove of jewels and riches enough to provide a comfortable living for them for the remainder of their lives.

With a smile Moses flew back to heaven with the angel.  He finally understood what the Lord had been trying to tell him.

As we consider the legend, the words of Isaiah come to mind: ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ (Isaiah 55:8-9). “

As I thought of that story, it made me realize that we do not, nor can we fully, understand why things happen the way they do, but God always knows.  He knows us individually and He knows our plans.  We MUST trust Him!

The way to weather the storms is to trust God. We have to trust Him and remember we are a team. Let Him be by our side at the helm while we are navigating the sea of life.  Yes, He has the ability to calm the storm, but if that is not the plan, He has the ability to calm us during the storm. We just have to remember to ask and then believe we will survive the storm with God's help!

“When we experience those things in life that we just don’t understand, we have to choose whether or not we’re going to trust God.

It’s not being optimistically foolish to trust God no matter what; it’s what we call faith. It’s in that in between when we don’t have all the answers, and we don’t know if everything will turn out okay that we come to know what real faith is.

Real faith isn’t a hopeful wish. Real faith is making the decision that no matter the outcome, we’ll choose to see it as God’s perfect answer.

Through the good, through the not so good, and even through the down right awful we will trust God. Now this doesn’t mean we won’t cry and express hurt. It does mean we’ve decided it’s better to have lived trying to take leaps of faith with God, than to walk away from Him.”- Lysa TerKeurst, Proverbs 31 Ministry