Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gratitude, Day 8 (Storms)

Yes, you read the title correctly and I'm not crazy - I am thankful for storms!  Oh, I'm not thankful for the storms themselves, but thankful for what they produce in me.  If we never went through any difficulties, trials or tribulations, how could God grow us up in Him?  How would we have a testimony to share with others of all the many ways our heavenly Father saw us through?  I read a quote that said, "Sometimes God calms the storm but sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child."  Either way, we will see victory, friends. 

Going through storms builds character.  And it increases our faith to know that no matter what we face, God is with us and He will see us safely to the other side.  One of the first real storms I faced in my life happened some years ago.  There were a few questionable "spots" on my mammogram and I was scheduled for another one with more views and an ultrasound.  Never having faced any serious health issues previously, I hit the panic button and thought I must surely have the big "C".  Before going back for the additional tests, I prayed like never before and asked for family and friends prayers, also.  I remember how my faith wavered and the moments of doubt and fear I experienced, then how I would be encouraged as I thought of Jesus and knew that nothing would happen to me that hadn't first been filtered through His loving hands.  I prayed for greater faith and the strength to endure.  I reminded myself that we are all given a "measure of faith" and that I had to trust Jesus with my life.  I found out that the spots were calcium deposits, quite common in women as we age, and there was no cancer.  I was weak with relief and grateful to God that I was alright, and best of all, came out of this first major "storm" with a stronger faith and trust in the Lord. 

There would be othe crises through the years, some big ones and some small.  The most recent one was the illness and death of  my dear sister Ellen this past July.  I never questioned God's goodness but understand that He knows best and that our ultimate healing is to be taken home to be with Him.  This was the hardest trial I've had to face in my immediate family with the exception of my father's death in 1972.  I was heartbroken at her passing, but draw comfort in knowing where she is, Who she's with and that I'll see her again one day.  But having "passed through the waters" before, I can honestly say that, once again, the Lord has seen me and my family through this raging storm and filled us with His great peace .  We will always miss Ellen; no one will ever take her place in our hearts, but we have been strengthened by our faith in God and knowing that He and He alone holds our future in His hands.  We can trust Him because we've seen what He has done before.  Every day we experience His many blessings and see His mighty works.  We can trust Him because He's seen us through every storm and we've reached our safe port with Him by our side. 

Oh precious Lord, thank You for the outcome of every storm we go through, because without them we would never know the inner joy and fellowship of  having You guiding us and seeing us safely home. 

Here is an old and favorite hymn - "Keep Me Safe Till The Storm Passes By":

In the dark of the midnight
have I oft hid my face,
While the storm howls above me,
and there's no hiding place. '
Mid the crash of the thunder,
Precious Lord, hear my cry,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.


Till the storm passes over,
till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand
in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.
(Mosie Lister)