For the last 24 hours, my phone has been filled with tweets about the coming hurricane in Florida. My friends and I are checking with each other to see if we’re prepared. One of them left this morning for a trip, worried about the family she’s leaving behind. Another has sent her kids to safety further north. I breathed a sigh of relief to hear that a childhood friend in Haiti is safe. We don’t know what to expect here, but we know it is coming.
It’s been a week of storms. Our daughter tried out for a developmental soccer program, one for which she’s been intentionally preparing these last few months. No one’s got more grit than this girl to press toward what she wants, yet she didn’t make the cut.
A good friend is experiencing the effects of past wounds marring a current relationship. She did what she thought was wise to avoid a storm, but it has come anyway. Another finds herself blocked in her work by factors out of her control and her faith is being tested as never before. I read in my newsfeed about unexpected divorce, the tragedy of a miscarriage, a father leaving a family far too soon.
We spent a day of prayer yesterday as a ministry, and heard reports from around the world of people persecuted for their beliefs. We spoke of the Pulse shooting, of personal struggles to make ends meet, and of fears for safety as the world becomes an increasingly more dangerous place for many.
I consider the storm swirling around our country. We watch and wonder what direction it will turn with the turbulent presidential election looming on the horizon. It all feels so huge, so beyond our control.
The storms, they just keep coming.
With every story, my heart sinks. How much can we bear? My arms are not wide enough to encompass these people I love, to shelter them from all the storms in the world. There is so much trouble. So much heartache. So much that threatens to take away life as we know it, as we want it to be. Some of it is our own making, but some of it is just life in a fallen world.
So we feel helpless. Frightened. Discouraged. Distraught. Disappointed. Angry. This isn’t the way it was supposed to be. We want life without storms. We want sunny days and blue skies and happiness. When we don’t have it, we are so tempted to doubt his goodness and purposes.
But he never promised us life without storms. Jesus said to his disciples just before he died, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
So herein lies our hope, friends. The storms are unavoidable. But we can take heart, because whatever comes, he has overcome the worst of it.
Now that doesn’t mean our trampoline isn’t going to end up in our trees. Or the relationship will be mended. Or the cancer will go away. Or the child will come home.
But it does mean that we do not respond as the world does. Yes, we feel the fear and sadness. But then we hope. We hope because we know that we have life beyond all this. We hope because we know that no matter what this world takes from us, it cannot take away our peace, our joy, or our salvation.
It can’t take us away from Jesus.
So in our storms, may we be people who talk about where our hope is. Our hope is in the one who is greater than the storms. He commands them, quiets them, and walks with us through them. He is our lifeboat, our anchor, our refuge. And at the end of the day, even if the storm overwhelms us, we still have him.
As one of our staff said yesterday, “When we have nothing and we have Jesus, we have everything.” Let’s rest in this today.