Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Lessons In the Storms

This life has many storms. I am not talking about when your paycheck is a few days late or when your neighbor stops talking to you because your cat used her flowerbed as a litter box. I am talking about anguishing deep within your soul over a situation you are powerless to change or escape. Suffering whips us around until we are so battered we can't stand it any longer. It is right in the midst of our struggle that people start watching and relating to us as they seek a way out of their own suffering. Our powerlessness to prevail against the storms of life reduces us and magnifies His power to a hungry world. That reduction of self (humility) is key to Christian growth because it takes the focus off of ourselves and puts it where it should be. Relying fully on Him, we are able to do the things we should have been doing all along. It is the genuine worship of a God who didn't bow to our desires to change the situation ...that makes the world wonder why He is worthy of such love. It is the strength, peace beyond understanding, hope, thankfulness, and especially the joy which seems so unlikely, that makes others want what you have found. It is when you are exhausted, gasping for the next breath, bleeding out everything that you are that God fills you with Himself and equips you for doing His work.


“Christianity teaches that, contra fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contra Buddhism, suffering is real; contra karma, suffering is often unfair; but contra secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine.”  Tim Keller

“While Christianity was able to agree with pagan writers that inordinate attachment to earthly goods can lead to unnecessary pain and grief, it also taught that the answer to this was not to love things less but to love God more than anything else. Only when our greatest love is God, a love that we cannot lose even in death, can we face all things with peace. Grief was not to be eliminated but seasoned and buoyed up with love and hope.” Tim Keller
“Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.”  Tim Keller
“Some suffering is given in order to chastise and correct a person for wrongful patterns of life (as in the case of Jonah imperiled by the storm), some suffering is given not to correct past wrongs but to prevent future ones (as in the case of Joseph sold into slavery), and some suffering has no purpose other than to lead a person to love God more ardently for himself alone and so discover the ultimate peace and freedom.” Tim Keller (emphasis mine)
"There is a love stronger than the chaos, running underneath us, beckoning us to go below the skin-deep externals, beyond the wind, even into the eye of the storm. "Hello Hurricane! You're not enough. You can't silence my love." -Jon Foreman 

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed,but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.