Saturday, March 29, 2014

In the Storm

My heart was pounding in my chest, my stomach was in knots, my breath was short and shallow. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep. My energy was zapped. I just wanted peace, but it wasn't coming. I was beside myself with the business ahead of me. I don't like conflict. Why do I need to do all these hard things, Lord?

I had listed the circumstances of great concern to me on a couple of whiteboards so I would be praying about them. But, really that was a silly strategy, because that's all I was doing all day long is crying out to God about these things!

Too consumed to focus on my job, and too emotional to keep it together at work, I took some PTO and headed home. I listened to our Sunday church service since I had been with my kids at their church on the weekend. Pastor Troy had just returned from the Holy Land and was sharing his own photos of the sea of Galilee as he told the story of Jesus walking on water in Matthew 14. Not knowing what was coming toward them, the disciples were terrified, crying out in fear. (That pretty well described me, too.) "Take courage," Jesus said, "It is I. Don't be afraid."

Then, Peter was actually able to walk on the water to Jesus... until he started noticing the wind and the waves, instead of keeping His eyes on Jesus. He lost his focus and that's when he started to sink. (Yes, I realized, that's exactly what had happened to me!)

How many times have I learned that when I abide, He provides?? Though I was saying the prayers and the words, my heart was still anguishing at the potential unknowns ahead of me. I was focusing on all the wrong things!

I pondered this timely message over the last few days, letting it sink in deeper. It was no accident I heard that story at that particular time!

This morning, I erased all the circumstances I had written on my whiteboards. I certainly don't need to be reminded of them -- and Jesus doesn't either! Instead I wrote all the things that encourage me -- His truths, His words, song lyrics that remind me where my focus should be.

Even now, I am still "in the storm" (the circumstances are still there, along with several unknowns), but I finally have more peace.

I can praise Him even in the storm, because I know that through the storm, He is Lord, Lord of all.

Gracious Lord, thank you for the peace we can have when we are under your wing, abiding in you. I know, somehow, you have a deeper meaning and purpose in these hard things. If you bring us to them, you will bring us through them. Most of all, I know you are with me and would never leave me. I will keep my eyes on you, where they belong.

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