Wind

It’s been windy here in Florida over the past few days.  Palm trees bending and ocean waves churning thanks to a brush from Hurricane Sandy.  Not much to worry about, just reminders of being close to a Really Big Storm.

But that Really Big Storm won’t just be close to the northeast part of our country.  The part of the country where an awful lot of people I care about live.  Looks like they will get the wind and the rain and the floods.  And there is a lot of worry and concern and fretting.  Even on my end.

And then I remembered.

I remembered who controls the wind and the rain.  I don’t understand God’s ways, why He lets things like hurricanes and storms simply brush some areas and slam others, why some of us get to watch storms on TV from the comfort of our living rooms while others huddle in dark houses as the elements beat against the windows.

But I don’t have to “get” God’s ways.  I only have to trust Him.  On the blue-sky days, and on the dark-sky days and all the days in between.

All who sail the sea of faith
Find out before too long
How quickly blue skies can grow dark
And gentle winds grow strong
Suddenly fear is like white water
Pounding on the soul
Still we sail on knowing
That our Lord is in control

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

(from a song by Scott Krippayne – “Sometimes He Calms The Storm”)

For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea.  Psalm 107:25

But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  Matthew 8:26

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them.  Psalm 89:9

Storm

“Drive through the storm.”

That’s what my Dad always told us.  He spent much of his time in his car traveling to and from ministry opportunities.  So when he gave us driving advice, we listened.

He taught us that when you’re in your car and in a storm, just keep driving.  He told us that if we stopped, the storm might just hang out over us.  If we kept going, eventually we’d drive out of it.

I had to put that into practice last night.  I drove right into a storm on the way home from Bible study.  A bad one – the kind that makes you turn off the radio so you can concentrate on staying on the road.  A white-knuckles on the steering wheel kind of storm.  Thunder, lightning, and walls of water coming across the highway.

All I wanted to do was get home.  So I did what Dad taught me to do. I kept on driving.

Dad’s driving advice is good for life, too.

There are going to be storms.  Sometimes they’re bad ones.  Sometimes all we want to do is pull off the road and give up. Or turn around. But what we need to do is drive through them. Eventually, the storm will pass.

I know that if Dad knew about the storms in my life and in the lives of people I care about, he’d tell us to keep driving.  He’d tell us that God is with us in the storms and that He will bring us through them and that we’ll be better off on the other side of them for having been brave enough to drive on.

So I’ll grip that steering wheel, turn off the distractions and keep going in spite of what is going on around me.

Drive through the storms, my friend.  There’s clear sky up ahead.

We went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment. Psalm 66:12

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.  Isaiah 43:2

You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day.    Psalm 91:5

But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them. 2 Timothy 3:14    

Courage

You’ve probably seen them in a gift store or catalog – those red rectangles with the white lettering and a picture of a crown that say, “Keep Calm and Carry On”.

It’s really from a phrase the British government used to inspire the courage of its citizens during World War 2, but somehow it has taken off in popularity over the last year or two.  And it’s popping up on mugs and posters and tote bags.  It really is catchy and memorable.

I got thinking about courage and carrying on the other day in a moment when my resolve wasn’t at its strongest.  So I started to go to the famous “faith chapter” of Hebrews 11 for encouragement.  But God nudged me to look at chapter 10 first.  And I found a catchy and memorable phrase of my own.

“Hold fast and don’t lower your sails”.

How would that be on a mug or a poster?  Verse 23 (one of my absolute favorites) says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful”.  And then later on, verse 38 says, “Now the just shall live by faith, but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him”.  The Greek word for “draws back” means to withdraw, be timid, shrink down, LOWER THE SAILS.

If you lower your sails, your ship isn’t going anywhere.

And maybe like those British citizens during the time of war, I need a new phrase to inspire my courage –  the courage to hang on when circumstances are confusing, when answers are delayed, when the fight is hard.  It may not ever end up in a catalog or on a tee-shirt.  But I like it.

Be courageous. Live by faith.  Don’t waver.  Don’t be timid or shrink down.

And by all means, hold fast and don’t lower your sails.

You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.  Deuteronomy 13:4

Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.  Revelation 3:11

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God”.  Mark 11:22

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:6

Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!  Psalm 27:14