This past weekend Pastor Eric talked about storms in life. And I don’t know how many sermons I’ve heard on storms so I tried to stay tuned for what God may be speaking to me for this particular weekend.
Jesus spoke to his disciples about getting to the other side of the Sea of Galilee after a long day. After Jesus fell asleep under the deck, the disciples encountered a significant storm. Being terrified, they woke Jesus up and cried,“Don’t you care that we are about to drown?!“ And how many times has it seems that God has left us in the middle of our obedience to encounter a Category 5.
I journaled on the last painful trial I had been through and what I’ve learned from it. In the last 3 years, everything has changed. In 2011, my husband and I ventured out on unknown territory- the making of an original music CD. We felt like it was the direction that the LoRd was leading. We worked extra side jobs to raise money. During that time, Jonathan’s mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian cancer. I started full time nursing school almost the same week that a German moved in with us who was still in learning English. We got robbed the $2,000 we saved for the CD. Cars broke down. Our computer blew up. Nursing school had it’s unprofessional “politics” and dished out personal blows below the belt. A misunderstanding with a friend in ministry started an incredibly long and painful battle. Unforseen issues kept piling up with the recording of the CD. The band was discouraged and the project was hung up indefinitely. Jonathan and I were exhausted. I got pregnant and was beginning to lose weight with all the sickness. My mother-in-law moved in with hospice right after Christmas. “LoRd, don’t you care that we’re drowning?!”
Two days into 2012, my mother-in-law passes away. The German found other living arrangements so we could grieve. I started to feel better. School eventually finished. The CD project miraculously was revived, mastered and produced. We welcomed our first son, Joram. We had so much support from friends and family. It felt as if God had taken us to the other side of the shore. We made it through that storm.
After reviewing today’s sermon with my husband, tears just spilled down my face. Arlene’s sickness laid a strong foundation for me but for my husband, it really shook him to the core. I felt like I was stronger afterwards but yet this situation with a friend in ministry absolutely crippled me.
“Even after a storm, the waves are still significantly rough.”
-Pastor Eric Ward
We haven’t given up on God. We love the LoRd. But do we take as many risks as we used to? Do we have as much faith as we once did? How will I respond to the next battle when I sometimes wonder if we’ve fully recovered? Obedience lead me to a season where I deeply questioned His character. Things didn’t turn out the way they should’ve. We remember Romans 8:28 but at times it seems like that’s just a church-y answer to deep pain. In America, we like to have the endings the same: happy, healthy and better than ever. All is well that ends well.
But Jonathan reminded me that Jesus’s whole life goal was to be crucified. There’s nothing sexy about that. He laid down his life in the most gruesome, horrific way so that the price for my freedom could be paid. It’s nice to be acknowledged, supported, befriended. But it says in Scripture that He was a man of many sorrows, stricken by grief and yet for the joy of it, went on ahead because he knew the cost of giving up was greater. And it also says throughout Scripture that He SEES, He HEARS, He KNOWS, He CARES… so all my questioning of if He’s paying attention to my drowning gets taken out to the trash. With that knowledge I capture those thoughts of doubt and charge into Him with my troubles (1Peter5:7). Deep down, I know one day, He’ll make all things right. Romans 8:28 really is one of His precious promises and He paid a high price to give it to me.
“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
I know I’m not the same person I was, for that I’m thankful! That crazy season was like a bootcamp and I’m leaning on His promises more than ever before. I know that not everything turns out the way we expect them too but I can still trust Him who knows what’s around the corner.
“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10
Whatever season you may be in, may you trust Him through and through. He will, in all things, make good on every one of His promises.
In His Grip,