28th June 2020

Wow!  That was some thunderstorm yesterday morning, wasn’t it?  I have not experienced anything quite as loud as that since my days in Africa where the storms were spectacular to witness but scary too, and worryingly dangerous at times.  The immense strength and power that emanates from these storms can be overwhelming, yet strangely mesmerising.  I remember being told repeatedly by my grandmother to step away from the window when a storm was in progress, so fascinated was I to see these strange flashes of light whip across the sky like a laser.  Witnessing such storms during the day was one thing, but in the darkness of night, it was quite another and I was truly terrified.

That’s the thing about storms though.  How we respond is largely dependant on where we are and how safe we feel otherwise.  The same goes for the storms of life.  If we are already in a difficult place and struggling with an issue, one more has the power to overwhelm us to the point of sheer living terror – immobilised by the fear of what might come next and how we might ever hope to overcome it.

During Saturday morning’s storm I found myself thinking about the power of God and how too often we take it for granted or forget about it altogether if I’m being honest.  Yet the Bible repeated tells us about the power of God.  In Nahum 1:7 it is written, “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in him…”  Psalm 23, one of our most often recited and sung psalms speaks of a similar such comfort; “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.”   Then in the New Testament, in the gospels we read about how Jesus calmed the storm.  

The thing about the storms of life is that they have the ability to teach us something about the power of God.  In our darkest moments, Jesus is with us, whether we are aware of it or not.  In the storm, we are given an opportunity to really learn what it means to trust God’s love, perhaps most especially when life is at its toughest.  This is such a valuable lesson for us to learn, for when we have learnt to trust God in difficult times, we also learn that we can trust him for all times and in every situation.  We may not understand it, we may even be pained by it, but when the truth of God’s love becomes real to us we are changed forever and are able to withstand the storms of the future which will inevitably follow.

Through Jesus, by his love, we have been gifted the power to withstand anything life throws at us.  Yes, it is sometimes difficult beyond compare, and yes, there are times when we feel totally overwhelmed.  But we have the promise of God’s presence through it all, and when we cannot feel his love for ourselves, we can rest in the knowledge that he shares it in the actions of friends and strangers.  

When Jesus promised to be with us to the end of the age, he didn’t say that with him life would be a bundle of roses – quite the reverse actually.  By saying that he would be with us always meant that he would be with us in Spirit, the very Spirit which came at Pentecost and lives with us still.  That same Spirit gives us courage when we are afraid, comforts us when we are distressed, challenges us when we are misguided, and inspires us when we are weary.  

For this I will be eternally grateful and rejoice in his goodness which overwhelmingly calms the storms we encounter in life.  May each one of us continue to find our hope and comfort in the love of God, our Saviour.

Prayer
God of all, who sees all and is in all, we praise you and bring you our thanks for the mazing ways you have comforted and sustained us through life to this point.  You have never defaulted on any of your promises, even though we have often let you down.  You continue to love us, even when our actions or inaction has betrayed you.  In Jesus you have drawn us near to your throne of grace.  By your Holy Spirit you have challenged us, yet also assured us of your loving mercy.  We confess that too often we take such grace and mercy for granted, forgetting what it cost paid for us by Jesus.  So we thank you for each fresh start you have given us.  May we realise how precious that is and accept the direction you provide.
We give thanks for the many ways your love is made known in the actions of friends and neighbours, by family and stranger alike.  Use us to be just such a blessing to those you guide us towards, that your name would be proclaimed, and your loving presence be felt.
So we commit our lives once again to your service and pray always for the guidance of your Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

To listen to “I Stand Amazed” please click on the link below

I Stand Amazed