Monday, January 2, 2012

When God Causes the Storm

Sometimes, the Lord gives us trials that are quick and shocking. Other times, the trials come in long and draining seasons. Either way, each person on this earth is faced with the decision of courage: do we fight or do we allow ourselves to be defeated?

For the Christian, trials are made so much easier when we understand our eternal purpose. I can vividly remember finding comfort in the song "Trading my Sorrows" on a mission trip to NYC shortly after receiving news that my Memaw would probably only live for a few more months. 3 weeks later, I clung to that song and to Scripture as I attended her funeral. I came to realize that God often brings trials to my life with complete awareness and intention.

Psalm 107:23-32 paints a brilliant picture of what trials and testing of our faith looks like for the Believer. God sent a tempest upon a ship, driving sailors to their knees with high waves and whipping wind. The sailors "were at their wit's end," and as their courage melted away they cried out to the Lord. He quieted the storm "to a whisper" and guided them to their haven- but only once they had turned to Him as the sole source of strength and safety.

The Lord doesn't seek simply to give me a miserable life. No, as a Believer, the trials and tests of my faith have so much more meaning and purpose. God brings trials and tests of our faith in order to draw us closer to Himself and give us a greater sense of awe about who He is and what He has done!

These past few years, a college schedule and daily planner have dangled in front of my face, tempting me and testing my faithfulness and discipline to the Word. They have won many small battles, and I have nearly been at my wit's end. My courage dwindles, and my strength melts away. In those moments when I am the most weak and the least likely to stand on my own, I find that God has brought me to this trial in order that I might find HIM as my firm foundation to stand upon.

All I can say is that I want to emerge from this testing of my faith with an awakened sense of how strong the Lord truly is- I want to emerge from testing with a renewed desire for the Father. I have been tested and tempted in so many ways- attempting to patch up those trials with feeble mustering of my own courage- but as soon as my shaky legs rise to stand, my crumbling foundation causes me to fall again. I will not stand firm by making a long list of New Year's Resolutions. I will not stand firm by creating a plan to make myself simply a more disciplined Christian (only to find the list crammed in the back of my desk drawer months later, ignored and neglected). I will not stand firm by attempting to find the courage to fight it all by myself. Only in Christ will I truly stand, and only with Christ's strength will I pass through this storm.

I love "Draw Me Ever Nearer" by the Gettys, and I'll let the lyrics speak for themselves:

"Jesus draw me ever nearer as I labour through the storm.
You have called me to this passage, and I'll follow, though I'm worn.
May this journey bring a blessing, may I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart's testing, with Your likeness let me wake.
Jesus guide me through the tempest; Keep my spirit staid and sure.
When the midnight meets the morning, let me love You even more.
Let the treasures of the trial form within me as I go -
And at the end of this long passage, let me leave them at Your throne."

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