1.26.2012

Storm Watch

It's been a stormy January here in Georgia. No snow storms - I've pretty much relinquished any snow hopes I have for this winter - but plenty of thunderstorms, even tornado watches which really aren't the norm for January weather, at all. We have a great vantage point here where we live literally on the point.  The sky can be seen for a full 360*, and most often (though not today) the storms roll in on us from the north, which means they tumble and grumble from far over the water, building a spectacular show for us to enjoy.  I love it. I love storm watching, even when we were in the midst of a hurricane, I could hardly stand to step away from the windows for fear I would miss something spectacular, something that can only be seen in the storm.  I'm not actually afraid of storms. I respect their power.  I am fully aware that they have the potential to cause great harm, even death.  But I cannot control a storm.  The only thing I can do is watch its progress, act wisely if necessary, and enjoy the incredible beauty that is only found in the heart of a storm.

My husband brought home an article for me to read today that Mark Batterson wrote in conjunction with his new book, Circle Maker (it's pretty phenomenal. I'm about a quarter of the way through it).  In it he ponders the wisdom of praying things away; as in, "Lord take this ____insert crisis___ away from me." Now I don't think there is anything wrong with that kind of prayer.  Christ didn't either obviously since he spent the last night of his life here praying it. However, and this is the point Batterson gets to, what if God's glory is bigger in the suffering than it is in the removing?  It was in the case of Jesus' Gethsemane prayer (a fact for which I will never have the words to express the depth of my gratitude.).  Certainly God could, Jesus Himself could have stopped the coming storm. But what of we who so desperately needed His rescue? We all know the answer.

It's likely that God's vision for us, for me, isn't the salvation and redemption of the entire universe, but what if what He has for us is more beautiful in the process than in the deliverance?  I still, all these years later, am convinced that I have been miraculously healed of cancer, but not before I underwent my full regimen of chemotherapy and radiation. And what I speak of when I speak of that time is  the incredible gift, the amazing miraculous depth and breadth of the gift that the experience was, and the gifts it still continues to deliver. Yes, absolutely God could have stopped that storm. He could have put me in the closet and covered me with His hand and said, "PEACE! BE STILL!"  But instead He called me out into that storm and said, "Come walk with me, my child, and do not be afraid.  Peace, be still, dear heart."  Those spectacular moments that can only be seen when you stand in the middle of the storm are not just found in the storms of nature, but in the storms of the soul.

One of my very favorite stories in the Old Testament is found in Daniel. We all know the story of the fiery furnace. It is truly amazing. But the rescue is not my favorite part. No, my favorite part comes before the rescue when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego look Nebuchadnezzar in the face and say, "Oh yes, our God is indeed able to save us, of that we have no doubt, BUT EVEN IF HE DOESN'T we still will praise Him."

God is not obligated to save us. He doesn't love us less when the storm rages. In fact, I argue that those storms allow us to love Him more, and that is why He sometimes says no.  Not as punishment, not out of indifference, not because He is cruel. Because He loves.

Like a hurricane.
And I can tell you from experience, that the beauty of a hurricane can only be examined inside the storm itself.


13 comments:

Pattie said...

Beautiful. And true. I'm so grateful.

Cathy N said...

Good Stuff! I've been looking at the Cirle Maker book and considering buying it. I think that I may just download it to my Kindle as my next book.

Maria Summers said...

Beautiful! -- This is the second time in two days that I have been confronted with the fact that sometimes God does says no because He has something else in mind.

I am like you, I love to watch a storm. Last April I stood and watched the wall cloud pass that turned into the Vilonia Tornado. I would love to come watch a storm on your lake. That would be awesome to watch.

Have you finished "Beauty" yet? I look forward to hearing what you think of it.

Lorri said...

"The only thing I can do is watch its progress, act wisely if necessary, and enjoy the incredible beauty that is only found in the heart of a storm." I really like that statement, and pray that the next time I'm walking through the middle of a storm, I'll remember. I just finished up Circle Maker. It really challenged me to pray with more faith, especially in those areas that I KNOW are from God (Abigail!).

Aisling Beatha said...

I remember one year on church camp in a field on the side of a valley in Wales, we stood for over an hour watching this storm coming from the distance, it was incredible.
By morning the field was a muddy mess and some tents were leaking and general yuck, but that hour before it reached us was incredible.

Dana Portwood said...

Thank you, Pattie.

Dana Portwood said...

It's very good. There are other things in my life that are lining right up along with it. I love it when that happens.

Dana Portwood said...

It's so hard to work with an incomplete picture isn't it?

I haven't started Beauty yet. I MUST finish what I am reading now but that is top of the pile for when I do (maybe this weekend)

Dana Portwood said...

Just keep praying that circle!!!!

I am finishing up Jen Hatmakers Interrupted (because I loved/ hated 7 just that much) and it is JUST as challenging, and it made me think of you when they are talking about having the vision (mission) but not even one iota of an idea how God was going to work it out. It's very VERY cool.

Dana Portwood said...

In my mind, there is simply nothing more beautiful! Even though I also have had to clean up the messes in the aftermath--it's worth the beauty in the moment!

Lorri said...

Interrupted is up in the very top level of my "want to read" list, but I have to wait for a few more book $ to come into the budget first. That, and her husband's book, Barefoot Church. And Kisses from Katie. About in that order. :)

Dana Portwood said...

Lorri I think the book is loanable. It's yours if you want it!

Lorri said...

Dana, you might just have doubled your AZ trip donation with that comment (because while the book budget is bare, the giving budget isn't). :) Seriously, I'd love to borrow it when you're finished. I'll get you my email address if you don't have it already. THANK YOU!