In my previous post, I told you about the recent storm that overtook my life and how God used the story of Mark 4:35-41, to speak to me.
Recovery from my storm took an unexpectedly long time. I developed pleurisy. It took three months for the fluid to leave my lungs, so breathing was challenging and painful. It also took three months for my red blood cell counts to get close to normal, so I was severely exhausted. I would lie down after lunch and not wake up until dinner. Then I ended up in the ER two more times with atrial fibrillation. Both times I was dehydrated from the medication I was given to rid my lungs of fluid.
During those three months the world kept spinning. People were living their lives, and the ministry of DiscipleMakers was going splendidly. But somehow, I had gotten spun off the world. I was isolated and lonely. It was humbling to realize how dispensable I was.
I started asking myself, “Is God really enough?”
When we suffer, life implodes. We want to know there is meaning in our suffering. We want see it make a difference. So, I began to pray that God would use my suffering to minister to others and show me his bigger story. He has answered that prayer as people continue to share how God used my storm to encouraged them in their storms.
It’s been over four months since the storm first hit. I still have not recovered all my strength. I was weeding my flower bed for five minutes, and my hands began trembling. I couldn’t write for a while. I am told that it could be nine months before my strength fully returns.
So what was God’s purpose in my storm?
I don’t know all the answers, but I do know that he showed me who he is more clearly than I’ve ever understood before. The Bible promises us that “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us” (2 Peter 1:3). My knowledge of Christ gives me all I need for a godly life.
He showed me that my storm is part of a bigger story. He is weaving together my life with the lives of those around me.
The storm tested my faith and refined it. It showed me that we really can walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil, for he is with us.
What is your storm right now? What are you afraid of? What causes you to doubt God’s love and goodness?
When storms overtake us, we can choose faith instead of fear by remembering the cross. Jesus gave up his life to rescue us. He cares. We can remember that he is right there in the boat with us and isn’t going anywhere! We can remember that he is commanding our storms. He is in control.
For years I have had a picture of a storm on the wall of my office. Underneath the picture, I wrote a quote from How People Change by counselors and authors, Paul Tripp and Tim Lane. It says:
“When you are in the middle of (storms), you haven’t somehow gotten yourself outside the circle of God’s love and care. God is simply taking you where you don’t want to go to produce in you what you could not achieve on your own.”
Underneath this I wrote another quote: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) God is in our storms, refining us, completing us, making us like Jesus.
By his grace, we can dare to hope that we could actually join Jesus in peaceful sleep in the stern of our boat — even the midst of life’s worst storms. We only need to remember who Jesus really is.