A terrible storm raged through our area yesterday, bringing with it damaging wind and hail, torrential rain, and even a couple of tornadoes. The accumulation of hail was so great that it looked as though it had snowed in July. A neighbor even shoveled some of it, and sixteen hours later, there are still traces of the icy pellets in a flowerpot.
The storm may be over, but the effects of it linger. Area crops were damaged. Branches and leaves are scattered throughout streets. Muck and grit came down off of our roof, and there are no more petals on my roses.
As I spent the morning in the yard, and raised our flag from the half staff position once again, I was struck by the thought that the aftermath of storms in our lives lingers, also. We may safely weather the storm, but often we are never the same. Wounds heal eventually, but scars remain. We will bloom again, but that piece of our heart is forever missing, like a branch torn from a tree. The trauma becomes a part of our souls, and we have to learn a new way to grow, to be.
In the tumult of this life, my soul yearns for rest. For the peace that passes all understanding. For calm amid the chaotic new norm of this warped and ruined world. My soul longs for Jesus.
Do you feel that way? It is too easy to become weary, even in doing good, when the storm rages, the hate is palpable, and the darkness is overwhelming.
Dear God, the storms have been dreadful. We are a lost people in desperate need of a Savior.
What is that? You, the great I AM, have called me to reach these lost people? But what good am I, when my own life is filled with flaws and failures, wounds and scars? If You look closely (oh, please don’t!), You will find little flecks of hate, prejudice, self-loathing, doubt, worry, fear, despair, selfishness, pride, envy, strife, and other muck and debris in my heart. I’m fighting the urge to curl up in the corner and hide from Your presence, dearest LORD.
Come to the Fountain of Life, and begin again, You say? Oh, sweet Jesus, thank You for extending yet another chance to start afresh. Thank You for taking my shame, my guilt, my stain, upon Your righteous and holy and perfect Self. Thank You for paying it all on the cross. Thank You for forgiving it all, by Your grace, through my faith in You. And thank You for bending down to lovingly wash my feet, tenderly wiping those flecks of filth off my heart once again.
And so, with You, my Lord and Savior, walking with me, leading me beside still waters and restoring my soul (Psalm 23), I will begin again. I will eagerly partake of Your mercies that are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), Your grace that is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9), and Your love that never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).
I will shine this little light of mine (Matthew 5:16), and shake my salt (Matthew 5:13), until the whole world has seen and tasted of the goodness and glory of Jesus, Who loves them all so very, very much… and Who is in control of every storm.
“Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” – Psalm 107:23-31