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Posts Tagged ‘Storms’

imagesI have been reading posts by Roger Tharpe for quite some time now. He is insightful and thorough in how he views what he reads in the Bible and how it relates to his life.

On his ‘About Me’ page, he says of himself, “My name is Roger Tharpe and I am a Christian. I love to blog and tell others about Christ in stories that could be shared by all.”

In this guest post, Roger writes of the story of Peter walking taking a plunge on the Sea of Galilee with Jesus, in What Do You Do When Jesus Doesn’t Calm the Storm?

We all have storms in our lives. Sometimes they are easily managed with relaxed breathing, and just taking it easy. Sometimes our confidence is shot, the skies are ominously dark, the waves seem aimed at us, and there is no steady hand for us to reach for in clear view … until we look up …

I highly recommend a read of this post, today.

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I miss the thunder and lightening storms that I grew up with on the East Coast.

I miss them from our life in Ottawa as well.

Where I live, on the west coast, we do not get many thunder and lightening storms, and when they happen, they are short lived, and not terribly dramatic.

For many, there would be no ‘missing’ of thunder and lightening storms, but I truly do.

I miss how they made my heart pound.

I miss how they made the house shake. I miss the rumbling of the Earth, the shaking of the pictures on the walls, as the lightening hit nearby.

I miss counting from one clap of thunder until the next … counting how close it might be.

I miss the power going out, and darkness only being distinguished by the eye-blinding flashes of unpredictable lightening.

I miss the way such a storm would draw the whole family together in one room, as if we were together to play a game, or watch a flick, or share a meal.

I miss the story-telling that would come of the togetherness. Stories of storms past. Stories of how we, how other responded to the storms. Stories of those we knew, stories of those we had only heard of. Stories of fear, of bravery, of loss and of delight.

I miss the air cleansing rains that come after the storm. The rains that push the heaviness in the air away, far away. And replace it with a newness that breathing is intentional, so as to cleanse our lungs as well. All that was heavy, all that was life-hindering, all that was suffocating, was changed by the ear-pounding thunder, the earth shaking lightening that scared us to the point of alertness.

And the rains came, and washed all evidence of all that had been stealing our breath, so that we could take joy in the gift of living, the gift of every breath.

I miss it, I miss them, because the shock and fear that they produced reminded me that I am alive.

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Hanging on …

Yesterday I wrote a post about dealing with struggles, and when it was finished I realized that I was pretty good at speaking truth, and not so good at living it (aka. I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching). So, not wanting to be a hypocrite, I decided to take my own advice.

I knew I needed to get out, and have some undisturbed time … what mother of kids who live at home doesn’t desire that? Fortunately, one kid was out, and the other two were preoccupied with video games and the telephone … and kid number four (aka. hubby) was deeply engaged in a movie. So, I took a notebook, a pencil, a cup of tea and a towel (to dry off the outdoor chair I was heading for, as it had rained … (again).

I sat facing the bright, even warm, sun. This was fantastic, as last week was the first day of summer, and I am still very convinced that we have barely had spring! But, I digress!

The sun was beautiful, and the sky, although dotted with big white cotton ball clouds, was a spectacular bright blue. So I dried my chair, and snuggled in with my tea. I laid my head back and smiled … eyes closed. When I do something like this, I am reminded how infrequently I take the time to do … nothing, and how immediately responsive my body and mind are when I do. Hum, maybe our bodies and minds are created with a need for rest … not just sleep (which I am a big fan of) but rest … being still.

So, there I sat, the sun shining down on my, my body and mind becoming still. Then my eyes opened as I realized I did have a purpose in going out … I had my notebook and pencil. So, I stood, and turned my chair so that I was facing away from the sun (deep down, I was probably looking for a rainbow … it had rained earlier). Then I got my notebook out, and started writing praises.

Now, if you didn’t read my post yesterday, it was about those life moments when you feel like your life is hanging by a thread, when your ship comes in, but you are at the airport, when you’ve got just one nerve left and someone (heavy) is standing on it …

… when you are in the midst of struggle.

And I spoke of how when we are in the midst of struggle, we need to give up control and look to the only one who is in control for answers.

And, as I sat outside, the sun on my back, I did just that. But I went one step further … I cannot look on the God of my life, and not praise Him (hum, maybe that is what we were designed to do). So, I began to write down my praise to my God.

I started with His reminder to me … “Be still and know that I am God (I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10).” And then, in no order (ha! ha! ha! … in my mind order is absent anyway) I wrote about what I was seeing … the bright blue sky, the brilliant green trees, plants and grass. I wrote about what I was hearing … the melody of a chorus of many kinds of birds, insects and squirrels.

Then I wrote of how hard it was to sit, and be still … I could weed, I could trim that grapevine, I could dead head my rose bush. No! I am here to worship, and be still! Then I wrote (page two) ‘I will praise you,’ and, for the next half hour I sat, and I wrote my hearts praises to God.

And I didn’t stop until, after over three pages of writing, I had a cramp in my right hand, from scribbling down on the paper. Over and over, what came to my mind, and I wrote on the paper were praises to God for what I know, in my head, He is. And, as I read my list over, I realized that I was praising Him for the things that were my struggle …

Over and over, what came to my mind were words of how God is my protector, my safety, my comforter. The very areas I was feeling needy. Obviously, what my mind knows (that God will protect me), I easily forget when I am trying to stay in control of the struggle of the moment.

But, I didn’t only learn that the cries of my heart are already being comforted by the Great Comforter … I also learned that the struggle cannot be hurried, and that to find comfort in struggle is even better that knowing the struggle is over.

You see, when I turned my chair from the sun, I was looking for a rainbow …

I wrote the following on my paper …

“My grapevine is reaching up, reaching out towards the sun, the light … it is beautiful! BUT I turn my chair so my back is to the sun, the warmth, the light, because I want to see the rainbow … the sign of the end of the struggle and the hope prayed for … I want to RUSH the reward …”

You know what? After about an hour of praising God, I got my reward … without the struggle being over yet. To have followed the leading to praise in the midst of the storm was far more rewarding than to know that the storm is over. One day, the storm WILL be over, but to have received God’s peace, and comfort in the midst of it is even better … because that is a miracle that could not have been achieved if I had been in control.

And from now on, no more searching for rainbows … like my grapevine, I’m looking towards the light.

God is in control, and I will praise Him in the storm.

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Do you ever feel like you are hanging on by a thread? Or maybe you live with, or know someone else who seems to be just barely surviving … but rather precariously. They are desperate, they are exhausted, they are hopeless.

When I am having a hanging by a thread moment a vivid picture forms in my mind. It is a picture of me, in a small boat, in the midst of a growing, growling powerful tropical storm. I am alone, I have no supplies to help me get through it. I have no protection from the elements. And I have no idea how much longer it will go on before the storm passes (or I pass).

Life has ‘hanging by a thread’ moments (that seem to last years, even if they only last a few days). And when these inevitable times come, we just want them to hurry up and go. Unfortunately, they have a mind of their own, and their coming and going seems to have little to do with our efforts.

I having been trying (as a person who struggles with the lack of a gift of patience) to learn to appreciate process, rather than just wish that the struggle were over. This has not been an easy thing for me to learn. And, with every step forward, I slide backwards even farther.

Although my attempt at appreciating process sounds honorable, I have to admit that my rational for this self-learning is not completely honorable. You see, I am trying to ‘work the system’ (how it is that I think I can ‘work the system’ of something untouchable, invisible, is ridiculous … even to me).

My thinking is that we usually can only appreciate the process of struggle AFTER it is over (oh, hindsight, how I love thee). So, what I am really trying to do, by appreciating the process, is seeking the benefit of hindsight in the midst of the process 😉 … But, I am also hoping that by appreciating the process … the struggle might get over sooner! I do realize that my theory is not only confusing, but it is also very flawed, and very … wrong.

There is simply no way to rush the process of struggle. There is no ‘working the system’ to try to expedite the end of struggle. I cannot sit contentedly in my little boat, in the midst of ocean swells, all alone, and just enjoy the ride. Struggle is not something to appreciate, it is something that brings us back to the reality that we cannot do it alone. Struggle is something that should cause us to say, “I give up.”

Now don’t go getting your skin tight theological knickers in a fisherman’s knot! What I mean when I say that struggle should cause us to give up, is that we need to give up our control on the situation, and give that control back into the hand of the man who stilled the water, and calmed the sea. You see, if I am in the midst of struggle, I am going to suffer it’s effects …

I’m going to get wet,

maybe even bruised from being thrashed around,

I might even get sick,

or even tossed out into the sea …

Because bad things do happen to good people … everyday! That … is life … But, God’s hand, and His plan is to see me, to see us, through it.

He knows how long the storm will last.

He knows how the storm will end.

And He knows we need to rely on Him, and not on ourselves, in the midst of it.

And, it is not until we take our eyes off the struggle, that we can see who it is that is in control, and that He is bigger than anything we could ever face.

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?”

Job 38:1-2

“Then Job replied to the Lord, I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.

Job 42:2-5


					

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