Kathy Bernard - Publisher

"Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”
1 Peter 5:7

How do you deal with the storms in your life?

There is a story told about how the eagle copes with a storm.  Noted for their size, strength, and powers of flight and vision, the eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks and will fly to some high spot to wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, the eagle sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, this resourceful bird is soaring above it. It does not escape the storm but simply uses the elements to elevate it to safety.

Like the eagles, when the storms come to us, we too can rise above them by setting our minds and our belief toward our heavenly Father. If we believe, He will enable us to ride the winds that bring sickness, tragedy, failure and disappointment in our lives, for it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we handle them.  The Bible says, "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles." Isaiah 40:31

The problem does not appear to be the lack of God’s presence in our lives,  it is the human element we all have when we think we can “fix it”.  If we have no faith, we become afraid.  Chapter four of Saint Mark versus 4: 35-38 points up this human condition: As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.’  So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed).  But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” 

The key is to turn our storms over to God Who has control of everything.  “Reading further in Mark 4: “When Jesus woke up, He rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Silence! Be still!’ Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.  Then He asked them,’Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith’ The disciples were absolutely terrified.  ’Who is this man?’ they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

How strong is your faith?  Consider this story about a man who was chased off a cliff by a tiger. He fell, and just managed to hold onto a branch. Six feet above him stood the tiger, snarling. A hundred feet below, a violent sea lashed fierce-looking rocks. To his horror, he noticed that the branch he was clutching was being gnawed at its roots by two rats. Seeing he was doomed, he cried out, "O Lord, save me!"  He heard a Voice reply, "Of course, I will save you. But first, let go of the branch!"  

None of us is promised immunity to the storms of life.   When we read the bible, it points out that we must all face our individual sorrows, our individual pain and suffering, knowing there are things that happen to us outside our power and if we seek to control these storms on our own, we will sink.

In the 12th century (1079-1142), Peter Abelard, a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian and pre-eminent logican, concludes after a life of tragedy and tribulation:   "I would pride myself on being a Christian in vain if I did not believe that I would live again.  This then is the faith on which I rest, from which I draw my strength in hope.  Safely anchored on it...The storm may rage but I am unshaken, though the winds may blow they leave me unmoved; for the rock of my foundation stands firm."

It is enlightening to read what Saint Augustine, 354 –430 A.D.) had to say about the private storms in our lives.  St. Augustine was a philosopher and theologian who  tells us,  “Don't forget the presence of Christ.  When you have to listen to abuse, that means you are being buffeted by the wind; when your anger is roused, you are being tossed by the waves. So when the winds blow and the waves mount high, the boat is in danger, your heart is imperiled, your heart is taking a battering. On hearing yourself insulted, you long to retaliate; but the joy of revenge brings with it another kind of misfortune—shipwreck. Why is this? Because Christ is asleep in you. What do I mean? I mean you have forgotten His presence. Rouse him, then; remember Him, let Him keep watch within you, pay heed to Him. Now what was your desire? You wanted to get your own back. You have forgotten that when Christ was being crucified He said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Christ, the sleeper in your heart, had no desire for vengeance in his. Rouse Him, then, call him to mind.”

We cannot see down the roads we travel.  There will be encounters we cannot envision, cannot see for they lie around the bend in the roads of our life. Sometimes it takes only the ringing of the telephone to change an entire well-made plan, bringing us to truths we hope we never hear such as the death of a beloved relative or the news that someone we care deeply for has an incurable illness.  There might be a knock on the door that brings life-changing news that will break our hearts.   But it is in the midst of uncertainty and trials, as we teeter on the brim of a chasm wondering what to do, imploring God with weakening hope to come forth for us, that we can see we are stronger that we thought.   Through faith, we are able to pull ourselves up from the edge of unspeakable hardship to keep ploughing forward on our heaven bound journey.  It is a time when we can understand and measure our capacity to endure, to assess our strength and continue through life’s fiercest turbulence.

In awe, we look at those who are surviving terrible calamities and adversities and we cannot understand how they persevere, how they can put one foot in front of the other and move on, running toward a goal that others cannot see.  These are the people with great faith, who are willing to "let go of the branch" and depend on Jesus Christ and His promises. 

Never forget that “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.  So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.  Let the oceans roar and foam.  Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” - Psalm 46: 1-3.  

Do not let your faith be swallowed up by fear.  Do not wallow in self pity, for Almighty God knows your circumstances and what you are going through.  Take your supplications to God, and find the solace and comfort you need to overcome.  Be always mindful that in the middle of the violent storms that steal away your joy, batter your dreams, and flatten your hopes, you will find the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ Who says "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” - Hebrews 13:5 .  He waits patiently in your rain, your thunder, and your lightening to lead you gently to safe harbor. 

I will not doubt though all my ships at sea,
Come drifting home with broken masts and sails,
 I shall believe the Hand that never fails,
 From seeming evil worketh good for me.
And though I weep because those sails are battered,
Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered,

'I trust in Thee'
Ella Wheeler Wilcox -1850- 1919


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