It has been a traumatic week. The raging winds and rains of Hurricane Sandy have wreaked havoc in the lives of so many along the East Coast and even inland this time around. Now, days after the storm has finally abated, we witness the devastation left in its path—people who died, pets swept away, homes and even an entire community destroyed, coastlines washed away, cars tossed about like toys, boats smashed into houses and marinas and businesses in rubble. The images are hard to comprehend. There is so much damage.
Storms remind us that there are forces operating in our lives bigger than we are and that we are often powerless against them. How we respond to the storms of life matters. Our response is the only part of a storm we ultimately can control. The Apostle Peter learned this.
During a storm at sea, Peter was asked to step out of a boat on to the water and meet the Lord. The minute he took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink. For a moment, Peter underestimated Jesus’ power, presence and knowledge of his trouble. But to his credit, he shifted from doubt to what he knew to be true. Only God can calm the storms in our lives and bring peace. Only God can rebuild our lives after the storms hit.
Apostle Paul is another example of someone who did not give in to panic or worry, even when he was imprisoned and tortured. His example challenges us to not lose perspective when times are tough, to trust God and to patiently submit to His ways. Hope is always present. It was God who brought a quiet calm to Paul. He lived independent of everything, and dependent on God. This is how he could rejoice in all circumstances. What a challenge for us.
After the storm, our dependence on God is evident. Like Job, we gain perspective—we are small, God is large. And the largeness of God is comforting. He holds tomorrow and today in His hands. Nothing happens away from His watchful eye. He sees the devastation and promises to rebuild our lives if we allow Him to do so. The challenge is to not give in to despair, but hope in God, to center our lives on the One who can remake disaster into something new, and to trust that beauty can rise from ashes.
Dr. Linda Mintle is the author of Letting Go of Worry (Harvest House, 2011), a book that will help you live in the peace and contentment God promises despite our trials.