A massive storm passed through early one morning. Pouring rain, boisterous thunder, and spears of lightning illuminating the darkness. Within half an hour it had moved on, leaving my community drenched but otherwise unscathed. We soon heard reports that a neighboring town didn’t fare so well. Residents were mourning more than property loss—injury and death.

Life’s storms sometimes linger a while, leaving us battered and scattered—like the aftermath of a tornado…unthinkable devastation. Stunned at the carnage, we wonder. How can I recover? Will life ever be normal again? Where would I start to rebuild?

Television news reporters covering natural disasters always interview survivors determined to rebuild. Giving up is unthinkable. They’ll sift through what’s left and start over. They say with defiance that inspires, “We’re alive! The rest is just stuff.”

Circumstances often carry us to places we never intended to go. Places we long to escape. Hard places and dark, making us feel alone…abandoned…hopeless. If only we could get back to normal…

Circumstances often carry us to places we never intended to go. Places we long to escape. Hard places and dark, making us feel alone…abandoned…hopeless. If only we could get back to normal… Click To Tweet

Sometimes we can make our way back there. Sometimes we have to begin rebuilding where we are. The destruction stripped us. Of plans. Perspective. Passion.

As I study the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the land of promise, one detail captures my attention: God’s strong arm and mighty hand. I underline every reference, feeling awe that with his strong arm and mighty hand, God was always leading. No matter how bleak the circumstances, his powerful hand rested on his chosen people and brought them to safety.

I made a note in my journal: Lord, I never want to be without your hand on me.

Do you feel as if God has removed his hand? That you’re swirling in a horrendous storm and either God doesn’t know or doesn’t care?

Do you feel as if God has removed his hand? That you’re swirling in a horrendous storm and either God doesn’t know or doesn’t care? Click To Tweet

Jesus and his disciples were in a ship when a great storm arose. He had fallen asleep.

“Master, carest thou not that we perish?” cried his disciples. Jesus arose, rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace, be still.” The wind ceased and the sea grew calm. He said, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” They marveled that the wind and sea obeyed him (see Mark 4:35-41).

Take a moment to assess the situation. You’re alive. The fact that you’re still breathing shows you are here on purpose. As you sift through the rubble, gather and cherish remnants of faith to rebuild. Remember this:

  • Jesus is with me today and he never sleeps.
  • His strong arm and mighty hand will carry me.

You can rest in the safety of his presence and rebuild, relying on his almighty strength.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid…” (Psalm 91:1-5a).

Storms and hard places change us. Reflecting, I recognize value in the upheaval.

Had I never spent time in hard places, I would not have known the softness of his feathers.

Had I never struggled with devastating weaknesses, I would not have known the strength of his mighty hand.

Had I never experienced painful disappointment, I would not have known the radiance of his hope.

My life changed when I learned to depend on Christ for my peace and my strength. Not another human being. Not my circumstances. On Christ alone!

Please tell me about the storm that wrecked your life and how God’s strong arm led you to rebuild. I’d be grateful if you’d share this article with your friends.

© Dianne Barker 2020

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