Friday, May 3, 2013

Like the Weather in West Texas...

It is often said that if you don’t like the weather in West Texas stay around a few minutes, it’ll change. Just recently Lubbock was named as the city with the toughest weather. We are accustomed to days that expose us to sun, wind, sand, and chill all within a 24 hour period. Heck, occasionally we even get a little rain thrown in for good measure---ok, I said occasionally!

I’ve been thinking lately how life is just like that West Texas weather. How quickly we can be exposed to all kinds of “weather”.   We have moments of sunshine and happiness, periods of windy pressure, times when we feel beaten down by the sandstorms of busy-ness and seasons of chill caused by fear or disappointment.  Sometimes when we are beaten down by the storms we begin to think, “This isn’t fair”.   We long to live somewhere else—a place of palm trees and soft, warm breezes. We begin to long for utopia and forget that just like the West Texas weather, our moments of storms will pass. They are just seasons in time. Some of the seasons we love and enjoy, others we just tuck our heads to our chest, lean into the wind, and push through.  The lesson I am learning is that even on the bad days, there are rays of sunshine, but I have to raise my eyes to see them.  One summer I worked in a mission center in inner city Houston. I remember a sign in the office that said, “Sometimes God calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.”

In my recent stormy season I have prayed constantly that the storm would be calmed. I think it is natural for us to have that desire. What I have discovered is that there have been times that the storm has been calmed, but the more amazing discovery has been that I can find peace even when the storm rages.  And when I am given that gift I can walk through the toughest storms and still feel blessed. My utopia becomes where I am, not where I long to be. It is an amazing lesson.  It is a gift that I don’t believe it is possible to experience on my own. My peace comes not from external forces, but from a much greater power. John 16:33 in the Message says it beautifully. “I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”  Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.” If I focus on the weather, I sacrifice my peace. If I focus on God, I find shelter in the storm.

I don’t know what season you’re in, but I know that as humans we all have seasons equivalent to tropical storms.  We face illness, relationship problems, financial pressures, and challenges at work. In those moments of crisis, we begin to feel as though the sunny days will never return.  I want to encourage you to not focus on the storm. The storm brings fear. Focus instead on the one who promises peace. Don’t shift your eyes for a second. That is when you begin to be buffeted by the wind. If you don’t like the current weather of your life, stick around a minute, it will change.  Keep your head up and watch for the SON.

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