There have been times recently when I have asked the question, "How much can one person take before they reach the breaking point?". So many of my friends and members of the Body of Christ are enduring horrible events that rip the heart and leave us wondering, "why, God?". I have had several unexpected situations occur in my own life recently that have driven me to my knees, begging God for strength and courage. I seek Him for understanding and find, instead, a silent God. It is then that I surrender, not knowing what else to do but wait.
God did not promise us that we would never suffer. He did not promise us that we would weather the storm without broken hearts and sagging spirits. He does not offer the bed of roses without the thorns or the rains of refreshing without the storm. Though I believe a life in Christ to be the best life, I do not believe it to be the easiest life. Please don't misunderstand. Life without Jesus is no life at all. But, there are times when I feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of life's sufferings. There are times when I feel like I can go no further, I cannot take another step, I cannot stop the flow of tears or find the words to speak another prayer. I feel drained, emptied and I have come to end of the road.
It is there, in that darkened place of my life, I feel an unspeakable joy and a peace I cannot explain. It is there, in my broken spirit, in my sorrow and despair, He comes. Has the storm ceased--has the suffering ended--have the circumstances changed? No--I have changed. I have found a place of yielding. I have hidden myself under the shadow of His wings and there I rest.
Abraham Lincoln once said, "I have often been driven to my knees by the realization that I had no where else to go.". So am I in times of storm. I have sought to heal myself and found my human efforts to be in vain. I have sought to comfort myself and no comfort could I find. But then, Oh but then, I find Him. I hide beneath His Divine shadow and I am safe--I am comforted--I am at peace. Though the storm rages on, I am unharmed for He holds me secure.
I recently received an email with a partial transcript of an interview with Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life. One statement stood out to me more than all the rest. In reference to the suffering of God's people, he made this comment, "God is not interested in our comfort. He is interested in our character.".
Dearest friends, God wants us to be all that we can be and the lessons we learn through the enduring and trying of our faith serve to mold us into the image of our loving God. We take on His righteousness, His character--we become His expression. When looking at the test or trial through the lens of God's eyes, I see His hand at work. I see Him gathering a group of weak, insufficient humanity and, through hardship and adversity, molding them into His protege. I see our human nature and characteristics falling aside as we seek to become more like the wonderful God we serve. When remembering that nothing comes to us without first being filtered through the hand of God, life's difficulties take on a whole different meaning.
All who know me know how I love the old hymns. One in particular stands out to me. I used to listen to Vestal Goodman sing the song, "Til The Storm Passes By". The words of the chorus have become my mantra, my prayer.
'Til the storm passes over,
'Til the thunder sounds no more,
'Til the clouds roll forever from the sky.
Hold me fast, let me stand,
In the hollow of Thy hand.
Keep me safe
'Til the storm passes by.
Hold on, my friends. Never let our faith waver for an instant but let us hold ever more firmly to the cross of Christ. Let us be willing to be molded into the likeness of the one who cannot fail. Storms may rage, winds may blow, but our God stands secure. If He holds us close to Him, we, too, will stand.
My prayer for us today is "Lord, hold us fast in the hollow of your hand. Keep us safe through the storm--we lean on you." I will be praying for you, "til the storm passes by".