Courage In The Face of Storms
Standing on the lawn at Spruce Saddle, overlooking the Eagle Valley and the Gore Range, I marvel at God’s handiwork. The sky is a mixture of deep blue and puffy white clouds. Thirty minutes earlier, a storm raged, chasing the wedding party indoors. The wind blew, and the rain fell in sheets like freezing needles. We waited and we prayed, sending our heart – felt petitions up to God for help. Suddenly, there was a break in the storm; the rain stopped and the wind ceased to blow. We quickly took our places. The bride and groom stood before me, ready to state their love and commitment to one another and eager to begin life anew in the storm’s aftermath. The joy in their faces was evident as tearful smiles played across their countenance. Voices of celebration rang out as the young groom kissed his bride, and the sun broke forth in all its glory adorning us with warmth and beauty.Most assuredly, God answered our prayers. But, did things go exactly how we hoped they would? Usually they do not; for I do believe that the all – powerful and all – knowing Lord God Almighty, the Creator of the Universe, is constantly devising creative ways to draw us to Himself. To get our attention, God shouts to us, “I am here!” through nature and creation, through His Word, the Bible, and through His Son, Jesus Christ. And sometimes, God speaks in very surprising ways! Witnessing one of the most devastating storms in modern history, surveying the staggering damage on lives, property, and creation, I ask myself, “Did God hear the prayers of the Gulf Coast citizens?” Where now is their celebration? Why didn’t God protect both His people and the beauty of the Gulf Coast? Was God attempting to get their attention, or was it nature’s reaction to planetary conditions? These are hard questions. It’s easy for us to discuss such issue as we enjoy our safe surroundings.One survival story, reported by a TV journalist, showed an elderly lady who had experienced many storms in her tenure on Mississippi’s coast. “God’s got our backs,” she affirmed with glistening eyes. She continued, “We will rebuild; we’ll rise back up like the phoenix out of the ashes. God’s got our backs!”The tears streamed down my cheeks as I watched this brave woman stand tall and firm, believing God was with her and her comrades in the face of such devastation. The Bible describes this very spirit: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be people of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” (I Corinthians 16:13 – 14) I’ve come to realize life surely is NOT a bed of roses; it never was intended to be. Sometimes we’re dealt a blessing and a storm all at once. I don’t understand why these things happen. Everyday we see people in the middle of dire circumstances. But the real question is this: “What will you and I do in response to those in need?” Will we do “everything in Love”? My heart leapt as reports came in of Christian groups arriving on the scene alongside the American Red Cross in the face of chaos. Like first – responders, we can reach out as Jesus would: “For I was hungry & you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty & you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, & you invited me in. I needed clothes, & you clothed me. I was sick & you looked after me.” Matthew 25:35 – 36When we are willing to stand with each other in the face of disaster, whatever the circumstances may be, we become the hand of God Himself extending a cup of cold water and a loving touch to wounded and broken lives. We have each known pain and struggle. With whatever it takes, let’s stand with our fellow humans in their time of need. For each of us are God’s children, and He says, “When you’ve done it to the least of these brothers & sisters, you did it for Me.” Matthew 25:40.When life’s storms confront us, let’s commit like that young wedding couple in the storm to stand together, extend a helping hand, and put our love in action. It’s all about RESPONSE. And don’t forget, God’s got our back!Gary Wingo leads the Seekers Fellowship, currently on a seasonal break.Vail, Colorado
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