I have a special affinity for rain, especially storms. The credit goes to my sister, Sharon. When I was about two or three, I remember us standing in the front doorway, looking outside at a summer rainstorm. I don’t remember what she said to me, but I remember feeling safe in her arms as she held me, pointing to the sky, and I remember her smile and her eyes. As devastating and reckless as storms can be, I have never been afraid of them. Thank you, my beautiful sister.
Life storms, on the other hand, are a different story. I used to fall apart whenever one hit. And like someone trying to outrun a tornado on a broken leg, I foolishly thought I could outrun life storms. I would run to people, but they could only provide temporary comfort and shelter, if that. I did whatever I needed to mask painful emotions from the storms. Nothing worked. Eventually, I became numb, unable to feel anything, including love, mercy, and compassion.
I didn’t understand the purpose of life storms. I didn’t understand a lot of things, but just like my sister held me back then, I’ve learned a few things after spending some time in God’s arms. I have learned what it feels like to be in the safety of His embrace when life’s storms rage. God doesn’t point to the sky though; He is too busy cradling me in those big strong arms of His.
Each life storm has been different, some not as difficult and painful than others, but each has brought me to a deeper place of trust. There was a time when I didn’t trust anybody. ANYBODY. God knew that, and He went out of His way to show me that I could trust Him. He kept at it until I was convinced. Now I trust Him with everything—my mind, my heart, my family, my belongings, my will, my money, my future, EVERYTHING. God has proven to me that He is real and that He loves me personally. He didn’t have to do that; He doesn’t owe me anything. It was His choice. Love pursues.
I don’t know what you need in order to move to a deeper place of trust. You may already be in that place, and if so, awesome. This word of encouragement, however, is for that guarded, defensive person with the fortress around his or her heart, the one who gives everybody the side eye. It’s for that person who believes nobody is genuine, like I used to. But I dare you to make a conscious decision to believe God is real. I further challenge you to ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a way that only you could be convinced.
Let me forewarn you, though, life isn’t suddenly going to become some fairytale with a happily ever after. In fact, things could get worse. You see, life is alive and like the weather, constantly changing and shifting direction. At any time, a life storm could hit without warning. A father dies suddenly, without being sick. A single mother loses her job and her family ends up homeless. A child gets shot in school. A police officer guns down an unarmed teen. As unnerving and traumatic as those examples are, the people affected by those storms somehow survive. Families get stronger and closer. Community organizations are formed to help rebuild lives. Laws are created. Movements are birthed. The purposes of storms are revealed and God is glorified.
What life storms have you had in your life? How did you handle them? What storm are you going through right now? What is it teaching you? How is it shaping your character?
I have learned that no matter how big or small the storm, God cares about your well-being. He’s not just up in the sky watching you suffer, He’s right there with you, in the suffering. He can stop any storm at any time, but sometimes He allows them to happen. It’s in those times when He longs to scoop you up in His loving arms and hold you tight until you feel safe. He’ll keep on holding you after that too. He never wants to let go of you.
My awesome big sister helped me not to fear natural storms, and my great, big, fantastic Daddy helped me not to fear life storms. It doesn’t mean that I don’t feel pain, disappointment, grief, or whatever emotion I feel, and yes, sometimes even fear. What is means is that no matter what, I know that I am safe, and that I am not in the storm alone. I can acknowledge the emotions, but I don’t have to succumb to them because God is there, and I trust Him. That makes all the difference in the world. If you know the safety of God’s arms, leave a comment to encourage me and/or someone else. If you know someone who needs this kind of encouragement, please share this post.