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…”

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

 

New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

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“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all
your soul and with all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

(Matthew 22:37-39)

“An Incredible Act of Kindness by an Extraordinary Young Man”

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Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂 I find many of them because I read about them on someone’s blog post. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

✎  Meet the New You: A 21-Day Plan for Embracing Fresh Attitudes and Focused Habits for Real Life Change by Elisa Pulliam

meetthenewyou“As women, we are constantly evaluating ourselves. Am I enough? Why can’t I change this certain thing about myself? Should I be doing more?

We long for real, deep, lasting change—but we don’t know how to begin. In Meet the New You, Elisa Pulliam empowers women to take charge of their own life transformation by engaging in a meaningful relationship with God and His Word. Each chapter gives practical and interactive ways to address some of the biggest obstacles that stand in the way of permanent change. Through stories, biblical application, personality assessments, thought-provoking questions, and life-coaching principles, Meet the New You helps women:
· understand who they are
· cultivate a vision for who they want to become
· recognize what holds them back
· determine the steps necessary to put new, practical habits into action

It’s time to discover who you really are and how you can live life differently. It’s time to meet the new you!” (Amazon Review)

✎ Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home by Amber Haines

wildinthehollow“Amber Haines is a woman haunted by God. Like Eve in the Garden, she craved the fruit that she thought would lead her to freedom. But the whispers of temptation led her instead down a devastating path toward isolation, dissatisfaction, and life-altering choices. In her most broken moment, Amber met God waiting for her in the fallout, freely offering her grace and life.

This is a story of the God who makes himself known in broken places. In prose that is at once lyrical and utterly honest, a brave new voice takes readers on a windswept journey down the path of brokenness to healing, satisfaction, and true intimacy with God. Amber calls readers to dispense with the pretty bows we use to dress up our stories and instead trust God to take our untidy, unfinished lives and make them free, authentic, and whole. Anyone who struggles with doubt or holds secrets, anyone who feels marginalized or like she is missing something, will find in Amber a sister and an inviting voice back home, into the heart of God.”

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Hope Harbor

Why Does God Love Us? by Jack Wellman – “Just imagine what the Word of God says about those who belong to Him. What tender love is revealed in His words. We are the apple of His eye, He rejoices over us, He sings over us, He abounds in love over us, He has the compassion of a Father over us, He delights over us…and this love is from everlasting to everlasting. What more solid proof can there be? God can not lie and God tells us in dozens of Scriptures that He loves those whom he calls His own.”

You Are Not an Accident by Rick Warren – Do you sometimes wonder why you were ever born? This article is an encouraging read – “Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He was not at all surprised by your birth. In fact, he expected it.”

20 Bible Verses about HOPE – Feeling downhearted and hopeless? Read some selected Bible verses on Hope (from Bible Gateway).

Nature Retreat

More of God’s Amazing Creatures

bee - John

bee & pollen - John

Javelina
(All photos this month were taken by my brother. The piggy-like creature is a javelina.)

Another Bird Blog – Bird watching, bird ringing, and some great photography

 Natureview Photography – “Hidden or remote, Natureview tries to give a view on the parts of nature that one normally does not see. Be it Polar Bears, walruses, Penguins and Seals of the remote Polar areas, or the dragon- and damselflies that might be hidden somewhere near your house, Natureview tries to expose them.”

 ➺ Birds and Blooms – A celebration of our natural world through stories and photography by Jim Flowers

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Quotes

❤︎ “Our sufferings may be rough and hard to bear, but they teach us lessons that in turn equip and enable us to help others.” ~ Billy Graham

❤︎ “Flowers fade. Hearts break. But, there in the darkness, through all the storms, hope is sure. Even when life doesn’t turn up the way we plan, our hope is secure in the One who died, was buried and rose again.” ~ Rebekah Hughes

❤︎ “In my deepest wound, I see Your glory and it dazzles me.” ~ Augustine

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Barbie – Weekend Whispers

OneWordCoffee Linkup