When we first moved here, I thought I knew "wind". After all, my parents aptly named their farm "Windy Hill Angus Farm". I thought I knew wind because it was DEFINITELY windy.
Then we moved to Central IL.
Wind takes on a new meaning.
The very FIRST valuable lesson we learned is that you do NOT open both doors on a vehicle at the same time. If you opened both doors of the van, EVERYTHING inside comes blowing out as if it's been sucked out by a powerful vacuum.
It's windy for sure.
Now that Spring is officially TRYING to make its appearance...the winds are picking up and the stormy season is soon to arrive. Some days it's impossible to walk standing up straight and it's quite a challenge to go anywhere in a skirt. :) It was a BRUTAL winter, so though the Spring season is seldom calm, it's quite welcomed.
It's windy outside.
It's windy inside.
Storms are brewing.
The waves are crashing.
Many of us are finding that situations are stormy. We are far from the calm. Life is swirling. Many are holding on to the ship railing for dear life because they just don't know which wave is going to crash at them next. Wondering when the wind is going to turn into a gale. I feel it and I know from others sharing their hearts and struggles that it's a common feeling.
We may not can calm the storms around us, but we most definitely can change our responses.
We know the MASTER OF THE WIND and THE MAKER OF THE RAIN (You're welcome!---to those of you that LOVED that old, powerful song by the Gaithers and now have it stuck in your head! If you don't know it...you tube it...it's worth it!).
I think many of us forget that in the middle of the storm or ANTICIPATION of another storm, that we lose our focus. We get our eyes on our situations, our uncertainties, or on the hurt we are experiencing and take our eyes off of Him. It's so very easy to do.
This morning I was thinking about the apostle Paul. If anyone had cause to be focused on dire circumstances, he did. Constantly beaten. Constantly conspired against to be killed. Constantly in prison in chains. Constantly being betrayed.
He was IN STORMS---both literally and figuratively.
Yet, he didn't give up on his faith. He didn't throw in the towel and walk away.
He could have.
Many believers would have understood and probably support him had he said "enough is enough". His "enemies" would have celebrated.
He continuously brought others to the understanding of needing salvation. He continuously encouraged. He continuously healed in Jesus' powerful name.
He let God's will be his will.
Even though it hurt.
Even though it was going against common sense many times.
He kept his eyes on Christ and not on the storms.
Towards the end of Acts, when he was literally caught in an indescribable storm at sea, he stayed the course. He still encouraged those around him.
"But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed" (27:22)
In verse 26 goes on to say that we MUST run aground on some island.
In other words, this is going to be a rough ride. Forget smooth sailing. We're going to be tossed about like we can't imagine.
You will not be lost.
Things may feel like they are literally falling apart every direction you turn. You may be facing circumstances that make absolutely no sense. You may feel like if just one more thing comes at you, even minor, that you WILL break.
Even in those times....
God is still good. He's still in the miracle business. Our circumstances may not change and He may not "magically" make our journey easy....but....He's still for us.
On that ship with Paul were 276 total passengers. I imagine that EVERY single one of them had fear beyond words. They had to be terrified.
After the storm ended and they were shipwrecked they all reached land in safety. I guarantee it was no little leisurely boat ride. They hit shore clinging to any type of plank that would get them there. Some swam to shore, but I doubt it was like swimming in a backyard pool.
When they arrived, the islanders of Malta "showed unusual kindness". They welcomed them and took care of them. Whether they were soldiers or prisoners, they were cared for. Even the chief official of the island welcomed them into his home and "entertained hospitably". They were eventually sent off with a ship and supplies.
Provision through the storm. Provision after the storm.
God doesn't leave us on our own when we face storms of life. He is right there with us. We have to keep our eyes on Him. Even if the storms around us don't calm, our focus can stay with Him so that we CAN weather the storm. We CAN make it to the shore, even if we are battered and terrified along the journey.
Hopefully through some of the storms we can minister to others. Paul was a constant encouragement to countless others. Even after the shipwreck, he prayed for the chief official's father and healed him. Others came to him for healing and they were cured.
Paul---definitely stayed the course. He definitely finished the race.
So much we can learn from him.