Learning through the storm

As me and my family have dealt with our devastating news, I have been trying to get some amount of good through this. I have been searching for what God is teaching me. What am I supposed to be learning? There are a few modern songs that mention this and sometimes those are great but painful reminders. There is a purpose in this storm. To follow a line from Casting Crowns, to simply praise God in this storm. From another, to be a blessing during this time of hurt and pain. It is amazing how God uses different mediums to interact with us. Take a song for instance, I can hear it many times and sing the words but then one day for some reason, I actually hear and listen to the words. These beautiful heartfelt worshipful words. I am so thankful for Christian radio and the artists who are using these amazing God given talents for His glory.

Obviously there are many ways that God communicates to us. It could be a song or a sermon or Scripture or a feeling. Any number of ways, but I am thankful for all the ways that God does teach us and speak to us.

I have found myself really pressing in to Him recently seeking Him and His comfort. He has blessed me in many ways. He has taken this hurt and pain of mine to remind me and teach me of some very important lessons. Most are basic and fundamental, but if we don’t practice the fundamentals we won’t have a good foundation to build upon. God didn’t have to teach me. He didn’t have to use this time for good. But I am thankful that he makes all things work together for my good. I think of Joseph and his brothers and the famous line he told his them from Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done…”

I don’t know what good will come from this or from any tragedy. But neither did Joseph and the eventual saving of the nation of Israel. It is amazing to look back and see God’s hand in things. It is so easy to get stuck in the trees and not see the forest. I get so caught up in this lower story that I take my eyes of the upper story (or as the business world states, the 50,000 foot view). God used Joseph and his story to protect his people from famine and other factors. He built this nation over time to be his people and send along a little boy raised in the house of Pharaoh to eventually lead them out. To one day bring along a humble young man that would slay a giant. Most notably, to send His own Son through that line to save all of us. Praise the Lord!

This is something God has really been teaching me a lot about recently. That there is an upper story going on that is beyond my small, pea-sized understanding. It doesn’t make it any easier. But it does remind me that there is this giant unimaginable God in control of everything. He is bigger than the tragedies that surround us. He is bigger than our afflictions. Our hurts. Our pains. He is greater than highest of mountains. He is not confined by insurmountable odds. He spoke this world into motion. He intervenes in our daily lives. His presence is imminent. It is near. God is here! God is with us! The next time you look in a mirror, as crazy as this may sound, tell yourself that you are a temple that God dwells in. 2 Corinthians 6:16 says, “…For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” God is in you. God is with us and we are in Him.

During this time, it is so easy for me to worry and get anxious. No matter how many times I see myself doing it and tell myself to stop, I still worry. Thankfully, by the grace of God, He has hidden a powerful verse in my heart. That is Philippians 4:6-7, “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I have really had to remind myself of that the past few days. I have had to remember that it is simply out of my hands. This battle is too big for me. I can’t heal her. I can’t make her well. I can’t take the pain away. No matter what I say or do, I can’t. I can’t… So I trust this battle to the only One greater than it. Whether He decides to do a miracle or not, that is up to Him. But only He can. I can say all the fancy words and phrases until I am blue in the face, but it won’t help. I don’t trust those words or put my faith in words, I put my faith and my trust in the One that those words point to. I trust this great battle to God. God, I can’t do this. I can’t beat the odds. I trust her and this battle to you.

At the same time, God has brought me back to the basics. Essentially, do I believe? Yes. Simply yes I believe. But to be honest with you there was also a light bulb moment that God had to bring me back to. As I read from His Word, I felt this simple question reverberating in my being. I had to make a choice at that moment. I had to not listen to what this world says or throws at me, lay logic down and worship God who is beyond all comprehension. I went back and in moments of utter joy and strength I just kept saying “I believe.” I believe what God has done. Can do. Will do. I believe who He is. What He has said. To go back and say different truths about God and who He is was exhilarating. It was an amazing spiritual high. It sounds simple but as the devil attacked my belief, God used that to strengthen it.

Lastly, God has used this time to remind me of something He taught me several months ago. That is during the dark times, while we will want to focus on the storms and the hurt and the pain, I need to focus on Him. The One is above it all and sees all and is transcendent. The One who needs nothing. Who is great and who is good. I want to focus more on Him and His attributes. God is reminding me and teaching me more about Him. To know and understand more of God, well, nothing compares to that. I want to know more about who God is. A. W. Tozer writes in “The Knowledge of the Holy” that one of the most important questions we face is what do we think of God. God never changes and will never change, but what we think of Him vary at times.

This is a time of hurt and pain. Full of emotion. But God is great and great is His faithfulness. During this time, during your own time, focus on who God is. Remember the things He has done. The freedom He has given. His immutability. His need for nothing. His infinitude. The depths of His love, mercy, grace, patience. His omnipotence. His omnipresence. Look upon that cross and be in awe.

Remember:
Believe
God is good
Trust
Focus on God – who He is and what He has done
Do not worry or be anxious

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