Monday, February 4, 2013

Let Him reign in your rain

Another message I recently listened to spoke of the storms in life. It was mentioned that every time that waves, storms, or rain are brought up in scripture, it is in the context of God's activity.  In which He acts, shows up, and shows Himself.  In which He calls upon His people or they call upon Him.  That He uses these things as an opportunity to speak.

Let's take a look at an example in scripture:

"Then He got up into the boat and His disciples followed Him.  Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.  But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke Him, saying, 'Lord, save us!  We're going to drown!'  He replied, 'You of little faith, why are you so afraid?'  Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.  The men were amazed and asked, 'What kind of man is this?  Even the winds and the waves obey Him!'"
Matthew 8:23-27

In this passage, it is important to note that Jesus speaks to His followers first before He speaks to the waves or the storm.  It made me think, how often do we beg God to speak to the waves and storms in our lives first, and skim over what He may be trying to show or say to us in the midst of them?  We plead with Him to calm our storms and take them away.  In this posture of desperation, our perspective becomes fixed on the storm. The sharp bolts of lightening and letdown of rain can temporarily blind our vision.  And the thunder and downpour can drown out the sound of His voice.  Causing us to feel helpless, fearful, and alone...and sometimes, of little faith.

Even Jesus' disciples did this.  Their focus on the storm caused them to beg Jesus in desperation.  They wanted Jesus to save them from the storm and take action, but didn't ask to see what Jesus would have them do in the storm, and didn't seek His voice beforehand.  And how did Jesus respond?  By questioning their lack of faith and asking why they should be so afraid.  I have been no different than these men.  God has shed a lot of light on my own lack of faith and focus.  Looking back at my prayer journals over the past couple of years, there are countless prayers in which I am begging God to rescue us and pleading for Him to calm our storm.  My focus became fixed on His saving and deliverance...and I left little room for Him to do His best work in me.

You've heard the familiar saying, "God sometimes calms the storm, and other times calms the child in the storm."  I'm beginning to believe that the only way we can experience this calm and for it to be lasting, is if we ask Him first to speak to us...and then position ourselves to hear what He has to say.  I believe there is purpose in everything.  That even the storms and afflictions we face in this earthly life are allowed and may act as an opportunity for God to speak to us and show Himself.  I want to be in a position to hear from Him first before asking Him to speak to my storms and calm the waves of my life.

Recently, I've been doing just this.  My prayers have changed from ones that beg for rescue, to ones that ask, "LORD, what is it You are trying to teach me in this storm?  How do You want to transform my heart and my mind?  Where do you want me to change? And what are You asking of me in the midst of all of this?"  I've asked Him to lift any blinders that hinder me from seeing Him, hearing Him, and from walking in His will.  And with that, while the storm still persists, He's done a wonderful thing...He's calmed the child in me.

God has all power to rebuke the waves and the storms in our lives.  And it's right for us to ask Him to do so.  But perhaps before we ask Him to rebuke our storm, we should be asking Him if there is anything He is trying to say to us in the midst of it.  There is so much He has been teaching me.  Too much to even be able to articulate into words in this limited space and time...yet He fills me with a passion and urgency to share what I can.  I'm beginning to catch a glimpse of the rainbow that is peering through the clouds on the horizon of our storm.  A reminder that He always keeps His promises.  That He is our "very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1)  That He is always with us, and will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). That He will take care of all of our needs (Philippians 4:19).  And that indeed, He is for us (Romans 8:31). Even in our storms and seasons of rain.

While this has been my most painful season in life, it is one that is beginning to be filled with the most clarity and purposefulness.  I struggled through long seasons of insecurity and uncertainty and feel I have finally been firmly planted on stable ground, filled with confidence in Him and more aware of my purpose here.  He is my sure foundation.

"He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure."
Isaiah 33:6

I read that in the Bible, "God is often described granting rain to faithful followers, or withholding rain from the disobedient." And that rain represents "blessings and allows crops to flourish." (rain means blessing)

"Therefore the showers have been withheld, and no spring rains have fallen."
Jeremiah 3:3 
(God's response to an adulterous Israel and Judah)

"I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill.  I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessings."
Ezekiel 34:26 
(An example of the LORD caring for His flock, His people)

There are still areas of lacking in my life, yet He is pouring out spiritual richness in the midst of my storm.  This is a downpour I could joyfully drown in.  A shower of blessing.  An undeserving gracefall.  A marvelous reignfall. I pray that the fire within me stays ablaze.  My prayers have shifted from cries of, "Save us LORD! We are going to drown!" to trust-filled shouts of, "LORD,  If this is where I will flourish best in You, with passion, dependence, love and zeal to fervently pant and pace after You with beautiful breathlessness, than keep me here.  I don't want a way out.  Fill me with faith, and have Your way. "  

I don't believe He will keep us here.  I do believe wholeheartedly that this long season of rain and storm will someday pass.  That full crop and harvest will bloom in abundance.  In His own time and in His own way.  

After Jesus rebuked the storm, it says that His disciples were amazed.  The NKJ version of Matthew 8:27 reads, "So the men marveled, saying, 'Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?'"   

I am already marveling at the ways He has showed up and shown Himself in my storm.  I can only imagine all the more marvel that will happen as His glory is brilliantly revealed once it clears.  There is marvel to be found in Him always.

But I believe it'll be even sweeter
and more radiant
if you let Him reign in your rain.
Oh, the wonder to behold.

3 comments:

  1. What a wonderful message filled with the Spirit!

    James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

    Our trials can be very valuable as they strengthen us and help us grow spiritually. I can clearly see God working in you. I noticed it the moment I met you. When we are weakest, Christ is strongest in us.

    "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor. 12:10

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  2. Amanda Beth- I can't tell you how many times recently I have thought of James Chapter 1. I have caught glimpses of this "joy" in the past, but it hasn't been until these past few weeks that it has truly sunk into my heart in a way that I truly understand. I can honestly say, "I count it all as joy." Even though we are not "out of the woods" so to speak (in our circumstances), I wouldn't have it any other way. This route He chose for us has been riddled with spiritual treasures. Some painful to learn, the pruning and stripping brutal at times, but so worth it as I look back now. I'm so glad our paths have crossed...I feel as if I have known you much longer than I have. That's the beauty of having friendships rooted in Christ. You are a blessing to me!

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