Joy in the Storm

Snow storm in the Tumwater Canyon

Joy after a storm

Joy is a blessing of highest order.
Like rays of sunshine warming what ever it touches.
Yet it disappears with the slightest disturbance.
Why is something so good so fragile?
Joy runs at the first hint of trouble.
It is easily hidden by clouds of struggle,
And overwhelmed by the slightest ripple in life.
Joy dies whenever grief rolls in.
Is there a way to hold on to it through all life’s trials?
Once a year we celebrate the joy of Christmas, propping it up with presents.
But the bright packages prove futile against the doldrums of winter.
Maybe the problem is:
We seek the ephemeral joy instead of the eternal.
Settle for a hint of joy rather than push on to the fullness of joy.
Run after a gift instead of the giver.
Worship the created instead of the creator.

In Your presence is fullness of joy.  Psalm 16:11

Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:10-11

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  John 15:9-11

Fear on the Horizon

Storm rolling through Idaho farm land

Storm rolling through Idaho farmland

I feel weak and have a fragile faith.
When I reflect on the past, I see little accomplished and am disheartened.
When I consider the present, I have trouble overcoming my tendency to procrastinate.
When I think of future, I am fearful that I will fail.

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

So my past is a story of God’s great grace.
My present one of seeking help to take the next step.
My future? I try to leave in the Lord’s hands.
Struggling to accept that whatever may come is from His hand,
And He will help me through it.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

I don’t understand why I’m this way.
I am only able to stumble along letting Jesus continually catch me.
When I stand before the throne, truly it will be an act of grace.

Limitations of Words and Pictures

There are times when music transports me to the gates of heaven (this last Sunday singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” during worship was such an occasion). That moment, of deep calling to deep, stirred me in a way, that I want to help others share its fullness. But, when I go to write it down, the words are sorely inadequate. So I resort to photography, hints of heaven in nature. But then the photograph I take never quite recounts my glimpse of heaven. Therefore, when you look at the following picture, play your most stirring music, smell the fragrance of the ocean after a rain, and meditate on: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) Then you may catch a glimpse of “Holy, holy, holy! The Lord God Almighty.”

Hope in the Storm

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.

Storm Moving In

The storms of life produce fury up close but by the grace of God and distance are beautiful to behold

The storms of life produce fury up close, but by the grace of God and distance are beautiful to behold.

 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.             Psalm 27:13-14