When Storms Assail

Hurricane Florence strengthens to category 4, September 12, 2018

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. –Isaiah 26:3 NKJV

As I write this (Thursday, Sept. 13), Hurricane Florence churns her way ashore, her eye on the Carolinas.

My daughter, Jaime, lives in South Carolina, so my mother’s eye is watching the track of that monstrous storm. Torrential rains and tropical-storm-force winds will extend far inland.

“Come home,” I more than suggested to her.

“I couldn’t even if I wanted to,” she said. Over a million folks evacuating the coast are on the highways heading west.

So Jaime will prepare the best she can, hunker down, and ride it out.

Storms assail no matter where we live, whether they be hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, mudslides, rainstorms, snowstorms, windstorms, or another natural disaster. At any place in the world, at any given time, disaster can strike. That doesn’t mean we live in fear or let worry consume us.

It means we do all we can to prepare, then hunker down and ride it out – and leave the outcome in God’s hands.

This goes for storms not of a physical nature, too – those emotional, mental, spiritual tempests. They can be circumstances, relationships, situations. Whatever the cause, they impact us profoundly and shatter our illusions of a smooth, easy sail through life.

Some storms, like hurricanes, we know are coming, so we can prepare. Some, like tornadoes or earthquakes, catch us unaware. But unaware doesn’t mean unprepared.

How can we prepare for the storms of life that are sure to come?

First, know they will come. No one is immune from the trials and tribulations that assail our existence on this planet. Even Jesus assured us, “In the world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). In the same statement, He gave us a way to cope: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.” Are you in Him?

Second, stock up on the essentials. Just like the folks preparing for the storm stock up on food and water, so, too, stock up on the Bread of Life and the Living Water (John 6:35 and John 4:10, 14) to keep your spirit strong. Do this by filling your mind and heart with His Word. Like the bread and water you consume physically is broken down and its nutrients absorbed by the body, so the words of The Word are absorbed into your mind and heart to nourish your spirit.

Third, make sure you have an alternate source of power. In a physical storm, the chances of losing power increase in proportion with the strength of the storm. So fresh batteries are on the stock-up list. So, too, with your spiritual storms. You know where the Source of Power is – God – and that Power will never go out. All you have to do is plug into it through prayer. Ask for strength, courage, wisdom, and whatever else you need to weather the storm.

Jesus told us to ask and we will receive (Matthew 7:7). That’s why it’s important to consume the Word so that it will abide in you and you can draw on its strength and power when you need it.

Fourth, just like folks prepare for the storm by barricading their windows, so, too, barricade your spirit with the protection only God can give. He Himself is a shield around you (Psalm 3:3). His are the wings under which you find refuge (Psalm 91:4). His angels have charge over you (Psalm 91:11).

Finally, hunker down with trust. Trust that, like Jesus knew His disciples were fighting the wind and the waves, God knows the tempest you’re facing. And like Jesus came to His disciples in the midst of the storm, so He will come to you. Indeed, He never left you (Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20).

Let His command to the wind and the waves, “Peace! Be still!” reverberate in your mind and heart, and settle in your spirit.

Facing a storm? Prepare the best you can, hunker down, then ride it out, remembering God Himself is with you in the midst of your storm.

When storms assail, remind me, dear Lord, that You are all I need to survive them. Amen.

Read and meditate on Mark 4:35–41; Mark 6:45–51; Psalm 91

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

The Apple of His Eye

The Helix Nebula from CFHT, 8/28/2000
Credit & Copyright: J.-C. Cuillandre (CFHT Staff), CFH12K CCD Camera, CFHT
(See explanation below)

Keep me as the apple of your eye. – Psalm 17:8 (NIV)

My dearest Child,

You are the apple of My eye. Sometimes, I know, you feel as though I’ve abandoned you. I have not. I’m here. I’ve always been here, and I’ll always be here for you. I’ll never abandon you, no matter what happens, no matter how you feel or behave. No strings attached. I love you simply because you are Mine.

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “the apple of my eye” many times, but do you know what it means? The “apple” of the eye is the pupil, the center of the eye and the part that allows light in. Without this delicate part, you wouldn’t be able to see. So the pupil—the apple—must be protected at all costs.

I am your protector, the shield around you, the strong tower into which you may run for refuge, your rock, your fortress, your deliverer, your stronghold in times of trouble. Yet there have been times you haven’t run to Me. You’ve sought help elsewhere. I never force you. I always give you the choice. Sometimes your choices break My heart. But I want you to love Me and choose to obey Me on your own. Like the pupil, I want you to open up your heart and allow My light and love in.

There are times when I must intervene for your own good. What parent would allow a child to step out into a busy street and not run and snatch that precious one from harm’s way?

When you’re weary and bearing a heavy load, I lead you to a place of rest where your soul can be refreshed. If I didn’t, you’d run yourself to death. What are you trying to prove, dear one? You don’t have to earn My love or prove your worth to Me. I created you. Just as you are. For a purpose. Everything I allow in your life has a purpose, child. Work with the circumstances, not against them. I am in control, whether you believe it or not.

Sometimes I allow hardships in your life to teach you, to strengthen you. Do you remember learning to ride a bike? How many scrapes and bruises did you endure before you were able to ride without someone running right behind you, ready to catch you if you fell?

Yet there came a time when I had to stand back and let you do it on your own. I watched you fall, brush yourself off, and hop back on again. I was so proud of you. I watched you cry when the pain was more than you could bear, when you were so frustrated because after all your attempts, it still wasn’t working out the way you’d planned. I hurt because you hurt. I counted your tears and bottled them as a reminder of your growth pains. But I was always there.

As you grew, the lessons became harder. Such is life, My child. Sometimes I allowed you to wander in a wilderness, to struggle in a storm. It pained Me to hear your cries, “Where are You? Why don’t You help me?” I was helping you. I never abandoned you. Your faith had to grow stronger, and the wilderness and storms make perfect faith-growing greenhouses.

You, Apple of My Eye, are precious to Me, and I love you so much, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t give for you. Indeed, I gave My Son.

You are the apple of My eye. Don’t ever forget it.

Love,

Abba

Read and meditate on Zephaniah 3:17

NOTE ON PHOTO: I typed “Eye of God image ” in my browser, and one of the websites that came up was this picture of the Helix Nebula. Here is the explanation from the Astronomy Picture of the Day website, dated Aug. 28, 2000:

Explanation: One day our Sun may look like this. The Helix Nebula is the closest example of a planetary nebula created at the end of the life of a Sun-like star. The outer gasses of the star expelled into space appear from our vantage point as if we are looking down a helix. The remnant central stellar core, destined to become a white dwarf star, glows in light so energetic it causes the previously expelled gas to fluoresce. The Helix Nebula, given a technical designation of NGC 7293, lies 450 light-years away towards the constellation of Aquarius and spans 1.5 light-years. The above image was taken with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) located atop a dormant volcano in Hawaii, USA. A close-up of the inner edge of the Helix Nebula shows unusual gas knots of unknown origin.

Source: Astronomy Picture of the Day, Aug.28, 2000

(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.