Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Storms


Storms

A devotional by Paula Moldenhauer

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.” 
~Psalm 107:28–31 (NIV)

Sometimes storms come with angry fury. Wind-whipped tree branches are forced to the ground, majestic bows bending; beautiful leaves shredded and flung into the sky. Hail pelts, bruising flowers and crushing tender plants. Living, breathing creatures cower wherever shelter is found. Trembling, they seek safety.

Other storm systems are quieter but no less incessant. Snow falls for hours; hours stretch to days. Gray-white clouds hide the sun, the stars. The storm is relentless, but silent, ever falling, covering the world beneath, burying any sign of life. Sometimes its weight presses upon barren limbs, piling upon them until the strong trees crack underneath the cold, white mound. And the living huddle anywhere warmth can be found. They eye their reserves, hoping they have enough to outlast the ever falling, quietly swirling powder.

The storms in our life have different names: Illness, relationships, finances, grief, wounds, overwhelming busyness . . . the list goes on. Sometimes they attack with a fury that leaves us trembling and breathless. Other times they linger indefinitely, demanding fortitude and perseverance beyond our comprehension.

But always storms make us cry for a safe place.

The Bible tells about a time Paul, traveling by ship, faced a wind of typhoon strength. “The terrible storm raged unabated for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone.” –Acts 27:20 (NLT)

The storm was frightening, and it was long. The sailors gave up on their lives. But God sent an angel to Paul to tell him not to be afraid—that God’s plans for him required his life be spared.

Paul also faced a long, silent storm. He called it his thorn in the flesh and asked three times that God take it away. But God didn’t. He simply told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9a, NKJV).

These stories remind me of something I heard from Max Lucado. He said everything that comes our way is first sifted through the Lord’s hands—and that we should submit to God’s Lordship in our life, even in the storms.

At one level I understand this—even feel protected by it. But when something really hurts, I feel I’ve gotten the raw end of the deal.

Why does He allow such pain?

In the long run, I always come back to the same truth. Though I don’t understand why bad stuff happens, I don’t want to walk through a gale force wind without my Father. I can question His love and His wisdom or embrace the truth: God is love. God is wisdom.

God has our eternal good in mind at all times. His love is ever present, always available and abounding to us. He is there when we cry out to Him.

Sometimes our God rescues us from the storm. I’m comforted by Psalm 107:28 (CEV): “You were in serious trouble, but you prayed to the Lord, and he rescued you.

He made the storm stop and the sea be quiet. You were happy because of this, and he brought you to the port where you wanted to go.”

Other times the storm continues, unabated, and He whispers, as He did to Paul, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” ~2 Corinthians 12:9a (CEV). No matter how hard a storm rages or how long it lasts, our Safe Place is always the same: the Father’s arms. Snuggled there our heart is at rest.

My Prayer: Precious Jesus, when it fits Your perfect plan, I ask that You still the storm. When in Your wisdom You allow a storm, focus my mind and emotions on your sufficient grace. Give me new understanding to see and respond to my situation from Your perspective. Empower me to rest in Your arms and to live in Your peace that passes understanding.

~*~
Author Bio:
Author, speaker, and mom of four, Paula Moldenhauer encourages others to live free to flourish. She shares this message when speaking at women’s events, and it permeates her written work. 

Paula has published over 300 times in non-fiction markets and has a devotional book series, Soul Scents. Her first published novella was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards, and she now has six published works of fiction

Paula and her husband, Jerry, are adjusting to a sometimes-empty nest in Colorado. Today’s devotion was adapted from her devotional book, Soul Scents: Rooted

Visit her at www.paulamoldenhauer.com and sign up for her newsletter to get a weekly Flourishing Moments and periodic updates on free days for her books. For daily Flourishing Moments “like” Paula’s author/speaker page

Join Paula in Denver at the Whole and Free Women’s Conference September 28 and September 29. Register here (by Sept. 27)!

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