Storms of Life

Storm at Sea,  photo by Stephen Hufman

Storm at Sea,  photo by Stephen Hufman

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”  And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:39-41)

Sometimes in the midst of life’s storms, I forget who is in the boat with me. Thank you, Lord, that your power, sovereignty, and closeness are not dependent on my courage or understanding.

After the Fire

From scorched earth God brings forth such glory.

From scorched earth God brings forth such glory.

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!  (Psalm 30:11-12)

God’s grace never ceases to amaze me.

Frozen Anxiety

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And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.      (Ephesians 6:18)

What an amazing invitation! God invites us to come into His presence on all occasions with all types of prayers.

When we feel unworthy, when we feel worthy.

When we have been faithless, when we have been faithful.

When we are in the valley of the shadow of death, or on the mountain top of life.

When we are anxious, or when we are calm.

Whether we are filled with fear, or feel fearless.

Whether we feel we can’t, or feel like we can.

Whether we have been clean and sober, or find ourselves in relapse.

Whether we need repentance, or need to praise.

Whether you are in control, or out of control.

Whether you are a coward, or courageous.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)

Just remember to check your pride at the door, and ask the Holy Spirit to seat you at the cross.

Peace and Quiet

PeaceI have stilled and quieted my soul  (Psalm 131:2)

I cannot do this alone.

I need someone stronger than my fears.

I need someone to take away my gnawing guilt.

I need someone to forgive and remove my regret,

To quiet my shame.

Someone to quell the ugliness I have seen.

Some one who will lead me by quiet waters,

To restore my soul to innocence.

I need the Good Shepherd, the Prince of Peace.

The Valley of Weeping

Psalm 84

Baca means: place of weeping, valley of misery.

I like this verse, but on my first reading I thought it meant I should be all cheery in the Valley of Baca (Psalm 84:6). When that didn’t happen, I wondered what was the matter with me? On further reading, I realized I had misunderstood the true blessing. The main point of the psalm is not about circumstances, or depression, or grief, it’s about nearness of God:

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. (Psalm 84:2)

The blessing, the springs of water are found in “God with us,” Immanuel. When I meditate on Immanuel, letting my heart and soul dwell upon “God is with me,” the pain and fear are somehow less. An old Scandinavian proverb states: “A joy shared is twice the joy. A sorrow shared is half the sorrow.” How true when you share it with God.

The Long Perspective

Sunrise near Page AZ

Sunrise near Page AZ

Each place seen here is in itself a rock filled wasteland, a desert. But seen from a distance at sunrise — beauty breaks forth. Some day we will have the long perspective on the deserts of our lives … and that will be glorious.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)