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A lesson in the storm

The Lord will protect you from all dangers; he will guard your life. The Lord will guard you as you come and go, both now and forever. (Psalm 121:7-8)

Over the past couple of days, God has taken me to scriptures about his protective covering over our lives. Whenever he does this, I know it is not by accident - there is always a purpose to his revelation. Last night, we had a walloping monsoon storm go through - no rain but mighty high winds. The yard is a mess this morning with pine needles, leaves, and trellises blown down. As these raging storms pass through the valley, I can frequently hear all kinds of noises in the night hours. They usually hit later in the afternoon and early evening, with all the high winds bringing pinecones thumping down on the rooftop, yard furniture skittering on the patio, and shade sail whipping up and down, startling me as I am alone in the house! I usually freeze in my tracks and just listen to figure out what is going on as I am oftentimes uncertain as to the origins of these sudden noises. I don't even realize a storm has come up around me until I hear all that ruckus. How many times do storms in this life creep up on us without us even knowing we are in for a pretty wild ride? Probably more than we know!

As I am writing these words today, Natalie Grant's "Held" is playing in the background. I love the lyrics of this song, but the chorus is where I'd like to focus this morning: "This is what it means to be held. How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive. This is what it is to be loved and to know that the promise was when everything fell, we'd be held." If most of us were truthful right now, when storms come into our lives, all we desire is to just be 'held'. Held in his arms, bolstered by his strength, and uplifted out of the fray that storms all around us. In this same song, Grant poses the question, "Who told us we'd be rescued?" I think we go through life believing that we will be rescued from each and every storm that comes up around us. I don't think there is scriptural backing to that belief - it says we will be secure, held up, protected, and even guarded, but it doesn't say we will never face the storm. We will hear the mind-jarring noise of the storm, bringing a moment or two of fear within our hearts, but will the storm win? Only if we remain in that fear! When the fear evoked by the storm arises, we take it to Christ - he replaces our fear with faith - faith in his ability to keep us despite the raging of the storm around us.

Coming and going - now and forever - we are guarded, protected, held - in the storm and when no storm is upon us at all. What happens in a storm? Things are 'upturned', aren't they? There is a 'refreshing' of the landscape in one form or another. Winds may displace things, rains may erode, and bitter ice may encapsulate for a while, but the storms are necessary if we are to ever realize 'newness' around us. Those leaves in my yard this morning didn't just 'give up and fall' - they were ready to be off the trees! They were already dead - they needed to go! Storms are kind of like that for us - things that 'need to go' in our lives can suddenly be jostled loose and when we let them go, we find there is now room for new growth! Just sayin!


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