29 He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. - Psalm 107:29-30
God puts us in a fallen world where we will experience storms so that we esteem redemption higher than our comfort, so that He can grow us and our faith, and so that we can take our first hand experience of His comfort to others in need. It’s a beautiful plan. I just wish knowing this made the storms easier - it’s still so hard when those waves begin to rise.
Suffering is spiritual warfare - you will listen to the lies of the enemy in suffering and question the goodness of the Lord, you let go of the good habits, you will let go of all the the redemptive love God has brought into your lives in suffering, and you won’t even notice it’s happening. The enemy is smooth, and He knows where our weaknesses are, he knows where to attack. Our minds are immediately diverted to our rising emotions, and we can so easily forget all that He has taught us. But God knows our weaknesses, too. He knows our heart and not only knows how to reveal the dark places to us, He also desires to make us whole by showing them to us...so He will allow the waters to rise. Some believe when they give their lives to Christ, they will be blessed with an easier life, their struggles will be minimized or even cease, but the reality is the closer we grow to Him, the more He will grow us through our struggles.
I just love how our study of Psalm 107 took us to Mark 4 this week to reveal His perfect truth. Mark 4 begins with the Parable of the Sower, where we learn how seeds are sown on different kinds of soil. There are those seeds that are dropped on the path and are immediately snatched up by the enemy; there are seeds that are dropped on rocky soil and start to grow but when trouble comes, they fall away; there are those that are dropped among thorns that grow but are choked out by the worries of the world; and then those that are dropped into good soil and produce fruit. We all read this parable and think to ourselves "I want to be the good soil," so we determine in that moment to be the kind of person that has a heart of good soil. We set about in our own power to make that happen, and we fail because we think we know our hearts. But God knows our heart, He knows what kind of soil is in actually there and He wants to show us. If we keep reading in Mark 4, just a few verses after the Parable of the Sower, we see that Jesus allows a storm while He is in the boat with the disciples on the Sea of Galilee. He wants to reveal the soil in their hearts. The disciples get angry at Jesus for sleeping, and wake Him demanding to know if he even cared that they could drown. Jesus responds with those words we all know, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Our fears are revealed in our lack of faith in the storms, and so is the nature of the soil in our hearts.
It’s important to remember that in moments of suffering, biblical faith never calls you to deny reality. It's okay to hate it, because it's all indicative that this isn't the way it's supposed to be. Don't put a superficial smile on your face through suffering and pretend as if it’s no big deal. It's okay to cry out, "why or when Lord will you take this? Lord, how long?" We read in Romans 8:22 that all of creation is groaning. It's not only right for the world to groan, it’s okay for you to groan as well. In fact, God wants us to cry out as the sailors did in this Psalm. He wants us to cry out for His redemption. That's God's purpose in the storms - to see the need for Him.
Those of you close to me know my struggle has been quite real the past few weeks, especially the last few days. The storm of dealing with a cancer diagnosis or the side effects of chemo have honestly been pretty minimal. In reality, the boat has barely been knocked around in the waves - I’ve even said to my husband a few times that this isn’t so bad. I'm doing okay. It’s definitely hard - I don’t want to minimize the struggle of a cancer diagnosis or these awful side effects. They’re not fun. But the weakness in my heart is not my health, it’s never been my health. I’ve foolishly thought that I was managing this trial pretty well, all things considered - I have not forsaken my good habits, I have remained steadfast in my quiet time, I’ve allowed Him to reveal my prideful issues, and I’ve worked to submit to His sovereignty and ‘consider it all joy’. I gave up work, I’ve been learning to be thankful for this season of rest, and allowing people to serve me - all things I did struggle with before this trial. But, honestly, none of those are my storm, none of those are the the worries of the world that choke out the Word for me. They’re not my thorns. The thorns in my heart, the worries of the world that choke out His Word is not being able to rescue my family when they need help. Cancer has rendered me completely useless to help those I love when they are in need, and I absolutely hate it. I have a deep seated desire to rush in and save my family - especially my children - from their struggles, and that’s what has been revealed by this cancer diagnosis. It’s been beyond frustrating. Two of my family members have been in the ER in the last 24 hours and I’ve been unable to help. I can’t be there to take care of them, to comfort them, to save them because I can’t go near a hospital with a comprised immune system. God has allowed a storm in my life where my only option is to cry out to Him and wait for His rescue because I’m always so quick to rush in with a solution. He’s grounded me from my rescue efforts, making it impossible for me to save them. God can’t save them if I keep rushing in and doing it for Him, so He’s rendered me useless. Maybe if I wasn’t so stubborn to see what He’s been trying to show me for years, I wouldn’t have gotten cancer...
On my knees this morning crying out to Him for redemption, confessing my prideful need to save my family and my inability to trust in Him when the waters rise, while working to release my loved ones to Him to save, but thankful through it all that I love a God who cares for me enough to answer my one consistent prayer for years - that my loved ones are saved by Him.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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