I love storms…now. When I was younger, I hated them with bookish excitement and dread. As soon as my lights flickered, I would be in the basement wrapped in a comforter, singing old Negro spirituals. However, as I grew, I learned that storms are beautiful lullabies. Heavy rain, Dark clouds, thick fogs, low light, loud thunder, bright lightning, bouncing hail – you name it, it sends excited shivers up and down my spine. Storms are beautiful in a wild, savage-esque way. They’re the perfect backdrop for a giant mug of chamomile tea w/accompanying introspective thoughts.
Like I said, I love storms.
But some storms are just ugly, destructive, disruptive displays of nature’s overwhelming caprice. Some come and demolish landscape and economy. Others come and force people from their home, from all that is familiar; they force them to move to a new place that oftentimes is uncomfortable. Rain won’t always bring growth, sometimes it brings raging flood waters.
I don’t want to be Debbie Downer in this situation, but in growth and maturity we have to start appreciating storms for more than silver lined clouds. We won’t always come out of the storm full of vigor and health, we may be beaten and tired. Sometimes we are left with nothing after the storm beyond our own life; and in our own solitary breath, we find beautiful hope and grace. Our only reassurance may be the brief pause between lightning and thunder that reminds us, “This storm is temporary. This storm is passing over.” The only comfort may be the knowledge that Christ hears and cares, without the heightened awareness of His presence.
The one thing storms are consistently good for is making survivors refocus and re-prioritize, and remember to cherish everything they have. You ever notice that after a disaster, people are really free with the phrase “I love you”? In high school, we lost two students in a car accident, and everybody started dropping the l-word: between classes, at the bus stop, over the lunch table; to students, teachers, student-teachers, the red-headed fry lady, librarians, security guards – everywhere and everyone! I told people I loved them and I wasn’t even sure if I liked them.
Hard times are good for making us conscious of how we’re supposed to behave.
That’s life. It’s beautiful and temporary; and because of its transience we have to remain focused on what’s truly important. So, what is more important in our Christian lives: happy endings, or glorifying Christ? Glorifying Christ, of course. It’s why we were created, and why we are sustained. Believe it or not, Christ gets glory in our hardships. All of our weakness reveals the strong-arm of the Lord. Someone has to display His hope, His redemptive power, His restorative power, His agape love; we can’t all display this superhero-like invulnerability. There will be times that our testimony won’t be in making it out unscathed, but in simply making it out – bruises, broken bones, and all. We have to be so focused on reflecting His image that we can stand like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and proclaim God’s faithfulness regardless of how the storm leaves us (Dan 3:16-18).
The Bottom Line: Our motivation for making it through the storm shouldn’t be what we have (materially or socially) at the storm’s end, but rather that our persistence reveals the glory of Christ (to others and ourselves). The glory of Christ is our silver lining! As Keith Green said, our reward is to bring glory to the Lord (Lord, You’re Beautiful). If it takes hard times to glorify Christ, then bring on the rain!
Job 10//Job 19:25-27//Acts 5:17-42//2 Corinthians 12:7-10//Hebrews 11 (especially 35-40)
SIDE NOTE: Every bad situation isn’t a God-sent storm. Sometimes we go through hard times because we’ve made bad decisions, not because of God’s plan (*ahem* storm chasers). Remember, we are led astray by our own lusts. God doesn’t tempt us or lead us to sin. That’s a whole other post though…