Where is God in the Midst of Crisis?
- Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Storms will confront us many times in our lives, expected and unexpected. They come in the form of disasters, deaths, broken homes, sickness, unemployment, you name it. They seem fueled by evil, and we find ourselves forgetting God and hiding from the chaos, defenseless. That is the place the enemy wants us to be -- in a hole, afraid, alone...hopeless. We neglect to look for the many signs of encouragement and reassurance He sprinkles throughout our day. Signs that He is right here with
us. Proof that He IS, and that we are never alone.
Not long ago, my State began preparing for Hurricane Gustav. At the nursing home I work at, our administrative staff had multiple meetings on how to aid evacuees from a sister facility on the coast. Even when we were not in meetings, we talked about it. When I got home from work and turned on the news, all headlines blared the "mother of all storms" was shooting straight for us. It occupied most of my thoughts. And each time I thought of it, an awful darkness washed over me.
Memories of Hurricane Katrina flooded me daily. I saw again the hallowed faces of elderly nursing home residents as we pulled them from ambulances, praying they were still alive. I saw relived terror as evacuees in red cross blankets described the flood they survived. I saw the tears of so many single mothers as they held their children and grieved the loss of every possession they owned. The urgency and despair was indescribable. Their hopelessness broke my heart. I thought, Please, God, don’t let it happen again! Not again!
I was paralyzed spiritually by the fear. It was strangely difficult for me to pray, and I lost my desire to drink of His word. All I thought about was the approaching storm. Somehow through all of this, the thought came that I might be under spiritual attack. I went to God about it, repented, and asked Him to speak to me. For the next two days, the verse at the top of my email devotional was Isaiah 41:10, "Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not look anxiously about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (NASB). I meditated on that verse, and on chapters 40 and 41 of Isaiah. I felt some peace, but was not totally restored inside until I prayed with a friend for deliverance.
Gustav raged on Louisiana, but it was nothing like what we suffered three years ago. And as I watched news coverage, I felt no fear. As tired evacuees came to the nursing home for shelter, I only felt a sense of purpose. God could actually use me to pour out His love on these people when I kept my eyes on Him and not on the storm.
The apostle Peter learned quickly to keep his eyes on the Lord. Can you imagine how excited he must have been when Jesus invited him to walk on top of the sea? And how thrilled he was to feel rough waters become firm beneath his feet? Step by step, he walked to Jesus. Then he looked around... and the harsh waves overtook him. Jesus saved him, of course.
It's the same way with us. Whatever storm you are facing, know that Jesus will carry you through it if you let him. The 9th verse of Isaiah 41 states, "You who I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its remotest parts, and said to you, you are my servant, I have chosen you and have not rejected you - do not fear." (NASB)
Do you see how precious you are to Him? He will guide you through the storm because you are His. However, the devil is watching you, waiting for you to take your eyes off of your Lord so he can "pounce on you like a roaring lion" and destroy your hope.
A song by Casting Crowns (my favorite group) has the lyrics:
I will praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
You are who you are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in you hands
You've never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise you in this storm
God promises us in Romans 8: 39 that, "Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Jesus is always near, waiting for us to reach out to him for help. He never leaves us alone with our pain.
As I write this, another hurricane is barreling toward us. It might be horrible, but this storm is not too big for my God. Bring it on.
Jen Booth is a social worker and a budding author. She resides with her husband in Louisiana. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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