Quell Life’s Storms

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Quell Life’s Storms

By Patricia Knight

As a child, I secretly yearned for my name to be assigned to a hurricane. Recently the Weather Channel flashed devastating scenes on TV of Hurricane Patricia, a category V storm. My anticipated childhood glee was replaced by an adult reaction of horror that my name was associated with massive destruction, death, and human suffering on all levels.

Hurricane Patricia gained landfall in Mexico, ripped down mountainsides and pulled whole chunks of earth along with trees into an escalating mudslide that tore through sparsely populated, remote villages.

In Texas and adjoining states, phenomenal amounts of raging rain and wind buried vehicles in rising street floods. People, young and old, tenaciously clung to rooftops and tall trees, awaiting rescue. Vehement currents snagged possessions, swirling them downstream, caught in the fast-rushing, turbulent waters, to deposit them miles away.

Dependency, confidence, and hope all contribute toward building trust. Victims who perilously hover between life and death are more willing to compromise objects of trust. As an example, normally a person who wouldn’t consider parachuting a recreational sport, would decline participating when the opportunity is offered. During an emergency when the same person’s life is threatened by rising flood waters, he is eager to escape drowning suspended in a safety harness from a rescue helicopter.

Someone who has suffered a memorable bout of seasickness would likely refuse a ride in any watercraft. When the only option of surviving a flood is transport by boat to dry land, accepting the temporary seasickness of a boat ride over the permanence of death is instinctive. During such trials, doubt and fear evolve into hesitant trust. Stretched to the maximum and modified for self-preservation, trust is often redefined to accommodate catastrophes.

In a crisis, trust communicated by helping strangers is heartfelt. The most humbling lessons can be learned from an out-stretched hand thrust in our direction, as we dangle in a precarious position. The rescuer reveals a willingness to help by direct eye contact, eager body language, and clarity of directions. The victim’s trust is then reciprocated by explicitly complying to instructions. When trust is encouraged, prejudice and fear are diminished.

Long ago, when Jesus and His disciples were deluged with long days spent teaching and healing, they retreated by boat, affording solitude on the Sea of Galilee. As the boat sailed that night toward the far shore, a rapidly progressing storm didn’t awaken Jesus, asleep in the stern. The disciples were terrified by the violent waves sloshing over the gunnels, nearly capsizing the craft, flooding their fears with thoughts of perishing.

With the boat nearly swamped,

“The disciples woke him {Jesus} and said to him,
‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves,
‘Quiet! Be still!’
Then the wind died down and it was completely calm”
(Mark 4:38-39).

Jesus’ authority over the elements of nature was confirmed when the wind and waves immediately obeyed His commands, further affirming to the disciples that He was the Son of God. The disciples were  awe-struck by their Master’s authority, with power exceeding that of the raging sea. They were shocked that Jesus silenced the storm; that the storm obeyed with immediate tranquility.

In a world where self-reliance is embraced, are you relying solely on your own meager strength? When the next storm of life reveals its wrath—a destructive hurricane, a diagnosis of cancer, a phone call delivering devastating news—do you feel adequately prepared with the emotional stamina to respond to such a major crisis? The paltry strength we amass during times of stress is quickly exhausted. Weakness fills the void.

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Almighty God is the only adequate resource of power and strength. He is willing and waiting for you to call on Him. Jesus said,

“ ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you’ ” (Matthew 7:7).

God is delighted to convert your weakness to His sovereign strength. However, God won’t crowd or coerce you. He has created each of us with self-will, and now eagerly awaits your decision to trust in His power to calm the storms that occur in your life.

Is your faith fully and firmly planted in Jesus? Do you own the conviction that, come what may, your trust will be indelibly anchored in Christ, steadfastly clinging to His power?

Don’t wait for the next emergency. Be prepared. Seek God in prayer. Develop a personal relationship with God that functions every day. Your heavenly Father has been waiting all of your life for you to call on Him; to ask Him to be your Lord and Guide. When you submit to God, there will be no limit to the power, love, forgiveness, and grace God showers upon you.

Don’t tarry in trusting God. Like the disciples of old, when the water crashed over the sides of their boat, it was difficult for them to think clearly; confusion prevailed.  Take Jesus on every excursion of life with you.  He is the only one in whom to solidly place your trust for all of the big and little problems that assail. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

To rely solely upon one’s own understanding of life generates pride and hinders trust. Humility and obedience activate God’s powerful promises. To know God is to love and obey Him.

I’ve re-evaluated my adolescent desire for name recognition, preferring to sink into obscurity from any future storm notoriety. As for impending dangers, my Lord is masterfully adept at quelling all of my storms.

You can read more of Pat’s writing here.

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God is Trustworthy

HAPPY SUNDAY

This is a great sign that pretty much sums up this last week for me. In the midst of difficult, quiet and painful moments, I am thankful for a couple of happy moments.

As I shared in yesterday’s post, I am in the middle of a CFIDS flare that is the worst I have ever experienced. My head feels twice its size and on the verge of blowing up. And the nausea! It just overwhelms me. I’m glad I don’t mind drinking plain old seltzer water because that seems to be the only drink I can tolerate, besides water.

However, on this Happy Sunday I am choosing to be happy while patiently (and yes, sometimes impatiently) waiting for this troublesome time to pass. Why? Because during every one of these moments, no matter how painful, I have still felt God close by.

I’m thinking that without Him holding me during these tough times, I’d be a complete train wreck!

You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. —Isaiah 26:3