Jesus Will Be With Us in the Storms of Life, Even When We Doubt

“Lord, if it is really You, then tell me to meet You on the water,” Peter called to Jesus who walked on the water to be with His disciples.

“Come.”

Peter boldly stepped out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. But then he took his eyes off of Jesus. He focused on the boisterous waves swirling around him.

“Lord, save me!” he cried out as fear and desperation choked him and the sea threatened to swallow him.

Did Jesus let him drown? No, He Immediately reached down His hand and caught him.

I can almost imagine the sorrow in Jesus’ eyes as He said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I don’t believe Jesus said it to condemn Peter but to plead with him to keep his eyes focused on Him, not on the storm. And He questioned him, so Peter would question and examine himself.

This story (Matthew 14:22-34) has often been used by God to strengthen me. I identify with Peter and his dancing back and forth between faith and fear. And yet, even though Jesus knew Peter would grievously deny Him in the future and even though Peter doubted His power to keep him on top of the water when he saw and felt the power of the storm, Jesus didn’t give up on him. Jesus will never, ever abandon us and let us drown, no matter how much we doubt Him. His faithfulness, love, and compassion are limitless.

It’s so easy to be swallowed up in the storms of life, isn’t it? As I look back on my life, there were many times when wave after wave crashed over me and the undercurrent of doubt and despair sucked me under. 

But God! I know now that He was keeping me from drowning even when I felt like not even He cared or understood me.

Relief from my troubles and despair didn’t always come immediately. Often it was just a quiet strength to help me keep putting one foot in front of the other. In hindsight I see more of the depth of His amazing love and faithfulness that upheld me. How He reached out and pulled me up, how He brought my limp body and spirit to the shore of His grace and breathed life into me, how He carried me when I had no strength to keep going. Again and again… And He still does…

May God strengthen and calm you with His love
and grace in the midst of life’s storms!

Are you in one of life’s storms right now?

What has been the greatest storm in your life?

What verses calm you in the midst of the storm?

Sometimes He Calms the Storm
by Scott Krippayne

“…Sometimes He calms the storm
With a whispered peace be still
He can settle any sea
But it doesn’t mean He will
Sometimes He holds us close
And lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm
And other times He calms His child…”

Jesus Longs For Us to Find Refuge Under His Wings of Love

Courtesy of Heartlight
“Like a bird protecting its young,
God will cover you with His feathers,
will protect you under His great wings;
His faithfulness will form a shield around you,
a rock-solid wall to protect you.”
Psalm 91:4 VOICE

God often uses birds as an analogy of His loving care and protection over us. When an April snowstorm hit us, I watched a visible sign of this truth. A house finch pair already had a nest outside my office window. It was amazing to see how they kept the eggs warm and did not leave them to find shelter for themselves. The eggs did hatch and the parents faithfully fed, cared for, and protected them. If the little ones needed more warmth or were afraid, they snuggled more deeply under the wings of their mother.

Birds will sacrifice their own lives to keep their young ones safe. I once heard a story of a mother bird whose blackened and dead body was found by rangers after a forest fire. One of them bumped her body with a stick and out popped three little chicks alive and well. She could have flown to safety, but she remained to protect her beloved young and give her life for theirs.

Though a bird will give its life for its young, there are times when it has no power against much stronger enemies. That will never happen with God. He is invincible. There is no enemy too strong for Him. We can always find refuge under His Almighty wings of safety in the storms of life. 

And there will be storms, because we are part of this sinful, fallen world. As long as we are on this earth, physical, mental, and emotional losses in various forms will continue to cause heart-rending grief, anxiety, and fear.

We all need a Shelter, a Refuge, a Safe Savior in these storms.

Jesus mourns when we don’t choose to find refuge underneath His loving, shielding wings. When Jerusalem rejected Jesus and His love, He wept (Luke 19:41). He voiced His sorrow in Luke 13:34b:

“How often I have longed to
gather your children together,
as a hen gathers her chicks
under her wings,
and you were not willing.”

Jesus longs for us to find refuge under His wings of love and safety. He longs for us to believe He willingly gave His life for us to rescue us from sin, eternal death, and Satan. He longs for us to take it to heart that He loves us so much that He suffered an excruciating death for us to keep us safe.

Yes, it’s hard to trust there is safety under His wings if our trust has been horribly betrayed or if we are so confused about what love really is. It took me many years to believe I can trust Him. To believe His intentions toward us are always honorable and life-giving, not hurtful and life-taking.

Even if we hesitate to take shelter beneath His loving wings, He never stops loving us or caring about us. His wings are always open, entreating us to find refuge in Him. His patience knows no end!

Lord, thank You for loving us so much and longing for us to take shelter in You. Please help us to trust You with all our hearts. Take away all the roadblocks that keep us from fleeing to find refuge in You. Take away all the trust issues we may have in our hearts. Take away all our self-sufficiency. Please help us to snuggle underneath Your wings of loving care with all our restlessness, anxiety, and fear. Help us to picture Your protective wings around us whenever we step forward into places or situations that make us feel so afraid and untrusting but yet will help us on the road to healing the brokenness within us. Help us to be dependent on You and Your all-sufficient grace in whatever struggles we go through in this life. Thank You that Your wings of love and safety are invincible.

Your Wings
by Lauren Daigle

September Hope Whispers

 

God Is Still With Us
Through the Storms of Life

Three tornados whipped through Sioux Falls this month, causing damage and devastation to some businesses and homes. There were injuries, but thankfully no deaths.

Avera Heart Hospital was among the buildings damaged. They shared a photo of a chunk of wood that broke through the lobby window. Do you see the cross?

Our windows may be broken, our building damaged, but even during the roar of the storm, God shows up.” Avera shared.

God still sends hope in the midst of life’s storms. It may not always “feel” like it in the midst of anguish and devastation, but He is holding us up. He never backs out on a promise!

“And surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20b

God Can Turn Our Struggling Stories
Into Hope For Other Strugglers

Do you ever watch America’s Got Talent? I’m not always able to, but I like watching it, especially during the finals. What I love the most are the stories where tragedy turns to triumph. This year’s winner is Kodi Lee, a blind and autistic young man who plays piano and sings so beautifully and with such heart. Though this song was not his final one, “Like a Bridge Over Troubled Waters” was one of my favorites.

There were other contestants who are winners, too. By sharing their stories of pain and using their gifts, they will continue to make a difference by breathing hope into hopeless, broken hearts.

Tyler suffered leukemia at age 4 and was bullied in school because of his lack of hair. He turned to music in a violin and is now not only an 11-year-old cancer survivor but a remarkable violinist who gives hope to other children with cancer.

Voices of Service, military members who act as a light in the darkness to soldiers suffering with PTSD, will continue to spread hope and make others feel less alone and more understood. I love their Footprints In the Sand.

There are others who came from disadvantaged neighborhoods/countries or special circumstances that encourage others to never give up.

We Are Never
Invisible to God 

This month I reread The Invisible Woman: When Only God Sees by Nicole Johnson. I was reminded again that nothing we do needs to be noticed or praised by people. Focusing our hearts on God alone and what He sees changes our perspective in life.

The story that especially touched my heart is that of one of the workers building a great cathedral. He was carving a tiny bird that eventually would be covered by the stone roof. Someone asked him why he was spending so much time and giving so much attention to something that no one would ever see. The builder continued carving and replied,

“Because God sees.”

Years later Martin Luther urged people to have the same perspective:

“Milking a cow was no less holy than giving an offering. Luther believed that a housewife had as great a calling as a high priest, and that both should perform his or her work as though God alone were watching. Holiness comes from God and from the heart of the person doing the work, not from the work itself.”

© Nicole Johnson (from book The Invisible Woman)

Nature is a Retreat of Hope

“The best remedy for those who are
afraid, lonely or unhappy
is to go outside, somewhere
where they can be quite alone
with the heavens, nature, and God.”
Anne Frank
Photos from Our Ever-Changing Falls

Bird Photos From My Brother John in Arizona
Immature Black-crowned Night Heron
Gray Hawk
Possibly an Immature Sharp Shinned Hawk
Immature Red-Tailed Hawk