Storms. That’s been the common theme of most news cycles the last week. For many of us, we’ve been on the edge of our seats, petrified for our loved ones, their homes, and our fellow mankind in general. Our pastor and his wife thought they were in St.Martin just to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Turns out, they were there to weather winds of over 200 mph and gusts of over 300mph and to witness not only over 90% off the island’s destruction, but also the hand of God sparing the lives of the majority of the people on that small sliver of land in the Caribbean. My husband’s elderly grandparents were in the thick of it just a mile or so from the beach and our hearts were filled with concern for them. Graciously, God allowed them and their home to make it through the storm unscathed. But many in the path of the storms of Irma and Harvey (not to mention all the other natural disasters that happened throughout the rest of North America and the rest of the world this week) did not make it through without either loss of life or loss of belongings.
I can’t tell you why God doesn’t always stop storms like these, when He has the power to do so.
I also can’t tell you why God didn’t stop the storm of cancer for my dad when I was a 19 year old.
I can’t tell you why God didn’t prevent the storm of an unexpected layoff for my husband when we were less than 2 years into marriage.
I can’t tell you why after years of infertility, God miraculously allowed me to get pregnant and then let us go through the storm of miscarriage just weeks later.
I can’t tell you why God has allowed our family to go through the storm of a blindsiding revelation of utter deceit and duplicity in a close family member’s life which led to not only the loss of material possessions, but also the loss of a marriage, trust, and relationship.
I can’t tell you why other relationships have suffered and been stifled because of rebellion toward God with godless lifestyles even though lips move to claim to love Jesus.
I can’t tell you why God hasn’t stopped some of the storms you’ve been through or are in the midst of either.
But what I can tell you is what I’ve learned through the storms I’ve travelled.
For better or worse, people do not come out of storms unchanged.
Storms can prompt us to search for what there is to be rescued.
Storms can push us to waive our arms in desperation and ask for guidance to refuge.
Storms like Irma, Harvey, cancer, divorce, broken relationships, lost jobs, lost loved ones, infertility, and miscarriage are earth shatteringly hard. Yet, even in destruction, once breaths are caught and winds are stilled, room is created for visions of new construction and a meaningful story to share.
Maybe you’re reeling from the impact of a storm in your life today. Maybe you, also, can’t answer the question as to why God hasn’t stopped or didn’t stop the destruction.
I can’t speak an outcome into your storm because it isn’t mine to weather. But I can speak the truth of how God has rescued me when the winds and waves of life engulfed me, threatening to swallow me whole.
So I saw what wasn’t moving. Rather, I saw who wasn’t moving. I held onto Him for dear life. And He has never let me go. While I can’t explain why God doesn’t stop some storms, I can encourage you that what He’s done to rescue me, He can do for you.
This is what I know from the storms I’ve endured: my story has gotten better because of the peace and navigation that I’ve received from the Maker of the waves and Calmer of the winds. I pray you’ll seek and find this unmovable fortress of rescue in your story, too.
There’s more than loss to be read in your story of storms. If you look closely, you just may see gain in between the lines of all that is gone. The pain of the pounding is real. The power of the peace of God is just as real.
You don’t have to ride out this storm alone. That’s what I want you to hear today, my friend. The only One who can transform your storm into a better story is the Maker of the winds and the waves — the Rescuer of the weary, the worried, and the wafting. Let Him speak peace and purpose into the storms of your story.