On this Monday morning, I woke up with a stormy soul, troubled about the present world in which I live, seeing only sadness when I looked back, and feeling the unknowns of the future stalking me like wolves at the edge of my consciousness. In those moments my first response is prayer. It would be wonderful, but untrue to tell you that I always find immediate solace, that I sense the Presence of God close. My faith is real and I know He is ‘an ever-present help in time of trouble,’ but howling winds in my mind can drown out His voice. I take comfort from the fact that all Christians endure those storms from time to time.
Why do these difficult times come?
Physical exhaustion can leave us vulnerable.
Some major disappointment can knock us down.
Sinful disobedience, choosing to go our own way, will create a chasm, the Spirit grieved by our choices.
A failure to find the right balance of work and rest will leave us depleted, too.
And, this too, sometimes God Himself takes us through a storm for His own purposes.
- That hard book in the Bible named for the main character, Job, tells the story of his terrible anguish of the soul brought on by many tragic things. We are given insight ‘behind the scenes’ we know that God allowed those things! But, as Job lived through day after day of anguish, he felt only despair. In the depth of his suffering he said, “I, too, have been assigned months of futility, long and weary nights of misery. When I go to bed, I think, ‘When will it be morning?’ But the night drags on, and I toss till dawn.” (Job 7:3-4, NLT) Can you relate?
- Elijah, a great prophet won a victory for the Lord on Mount Carmel when God sent fire from Heaven. After that, high output day, his exhaustion brought on a terrible depression, fled to the desert, and asked God to let him die! “He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” (1 Kings 19:4). God ministered to him, giving him strength and a partner in the work that shared the burden.
- David walked in the dark, too; the result of his own sin. His prayer is beautiful and poignant. “ Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice … Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:8, 11-12, NIV) In repentance, he found renewal.
- Jesus was in anguish on the night before He went to the Cross. He anticipated bearing the sins of the world, the coming separation from His Father, and it tore Him to pieces. He sweat drops of blood, begged His friends to stand with Him, and even prayed, “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me.” (Mark 14:36, NIV) He went to the Cross and emerged from the grave the Victor over sin, death, and Hell!
With such company walking before us in the ‘dark night of the soul’ (St. John of the Cross, 16th century) we should be comforted by the thought that soul storms are not so uncommon. These crises of the spirit come to saint and sinner, young and old, rich and poor alike. So what can we do?
Patiently wait out the storm! There is a Psalm that every disciple should commit to memory. God’s wisdom comes through each word, not with an instant release from the ache, nor with a promise of immediate comfort. Rather, He calls on us to steady ourselves until the storm blows over.
A favorite Psalm draws me again to faith. “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.” (Psalm 37:3-9, NIV)
Refuse to rage against God Who is sometimes silent and against others who bring on frustration. Yes, “be still before the Lord” and wait. Patiently let His Spirit work.
Sometimes He changes me; sometimes He changes my circumstances; and sometimes He just lets the storm blow over! So today if you are in a soul storm, tempests of doubt, disappointment, fear, or temptation blowing through your mind, I encourage you to “Wait patiently!”
The word from the Word reminds us of a great Truth. God is sufficient in ALL things, for every need. “And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making all things new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give the springs of the water of life without charge! All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.” (Revelation 21:5-7, NLT) Let the Eternal God, the One who knows you best, love you today. Lean on Him.
I searched the world but it couldn’t fill me
Man’s empty praise and treasures that fade
Are never enough
Then You came along and put me back together
And every desire is now satisfied here in Your love
Oh there’s nothing better than You
There’s nothing better than You
Lord there’s nothing
Nothing is better than You
I’m not afraid to show You my weakness
My failures and flaws
Lord You’ve seen them all
And You still call me friend
‘Cause the God of the mountain
Is the God of the valley
And there’s not a place
Your mercy and grace won’t find me again
You turn mourning to dancing
You give beauty for ashes
You turn shame into glory
You’re the only one who can
You turn graves into gardens
You turn bones into armies
You turn seas into highways
You’re the only one who can
Brandon Lake | Chris Brown | Steven Furtick | Tiffany Hudson
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