You know … you hear. You go to the dentist for your annual exam and learn that her husband was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease… You are on the sideline of your daughter’s soccer game and find out that the player’s mom sitting next to you just lost her job… You get a Facebook message that your former colleague died… wait, at his age?
These are storms. Talked about in the last Morning Briefing, the unexpected storm,1 including the one in which the disciples found themselves on the Sea of Galilee when a squall came up. The disciples, mostly fishermen, were scared for their lives and called out to Jesus.2 But come on – Life. Will. Bring. Storms. Before I moved to North Carolina, storms—I’m talking weather--were a little unfamiliar to me. Southern California had strong Santa Ana winds that whipped up disastrous devastating wildfires in our drought-ridden state, but other than that, I had no personal experience with significant storms. Whereas people living in areas of the country or world that experience severe storms do things to prepare—they might have a storm cellar, stored supplies and possibly a generator. So how about you and me? Is there something we can do to be ready for the other kinds of storms in our lives? Yes, I believe so. This something I regularly write about, but from a different angle. We can prepare for the storms of life by building our relationship with Jesus Christ. Hang with me here. I have talked about it in terms of spiritual, personal meaning and fulfillment, but this is something different. Yes, we grow our relationship with God through reading, studying, and memorizing what he said to us, so that we know what he has promised. And as we know Scripture, we know who he is, what he is like, what he can do and what he will do for those who love him. We know that he will never abandon us. So before the storm hits, what ought we know? What ought we have at the ready? We are not alone—God is with us. Scripture records our Father saying to his children, >“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”3 And because we read his words to us, we know that if and when the storm hits, Jesus has extended his hand to us saying, >”Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”4 I love these next lines ‘Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace…’5 “In this world you will have trouble; but take heart for I have overcome the world.”6 When we lock arms with Jesus, we are connecting with divine power. We are not going it alone. Before the storm hits, we have a divine generator in place—the power of God accessed through the Holy Spirit who lives in us. [Please read that again and ask God for the understanding to apply it to your life.] ‘So, I lost my job, Christine—I guess this is the storm you have been talking about. I recall what you said—remember in the night what you knew to be true during the light of day. God. Is. With. me.’ Yes, my friend, he is with you, and he will never let you go. How to start and keep it going: Start your day by praying to the Lord, committing your thoughts, words and deeds to him, asking for wisdom and direction, poised to hear from him all along the way. 'And the Generator? Time stored up with God. Love this story about when my two favorite ministers met. Jim Cymbala,7 was teaching at the Billy Graham Center at the Cove,8 when Will Graham took him to Montreat9 to see Will’s grandfather, beloved Billy Graham, then 96 years of age. Will introduced Pastor Cymbala to Billy by saying he had been so impacted by the message Cymbala had preached from Mark 3 about ‘our first calling’. “Dr. Graham asked in a frail voice, “And what is that calling?” “Grandpa Bill, Pastor Jim said that the first call is to be with the Lord…” Suddenly Billy Graham lifted his head and in a broken voice said, “…I needed to hear that. Because I’m ninety-six years old, and I need to be with Jesus more.”10 O, how I love that! ‘Want to be ready for life’s storms? Be with Jesus more. Be still my soul, a song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq59iE3MhXM Christine The Footsteps of Jesus in the gospel of Mark, 15 1 – unexpected storm, https://conta.cc/3lH7ps3 2 – Mark 5.1-20 3 – Hebrews 13.5 4 – Matthew 11.28 5 – Matthew 11.29, The Message, Eugene Peterson 6 – John 16.33 7 – https://www.brooklyntabernacle.org/jim-cymbala/ 8 - https://thecove.org - Asheville, North Carolina 9 - Montreat, North Carolina 10 – Fan the Flame, Jim Cymbala