Flash! Crackle! Boom! Crash!

lightning-1056419_1280 WikimediaImages from Pixabay _cropped

The child that was me clutched the covers tightly around her shoulders, her frightened eyes wide in the night. The summer storm roared in as rain pounded the metal roof above her head. Wind rattled the tree limbs outside and buffeted the house.

Sizzle! Bang!

Springing from her bed, she raced to the top of the stairs, calling, “Daddy! Daddy!” … and she heard his reassuring voice above the sound of the tempest outside. His footsteps sounded on the stairs and then he was beside her, comforting her.

… I well remember that long-ago night. Staying with me until the storm passed, calming and reassuring me, my father’s presence brought safety and security. The rumbles of thunder slowly grew distant and the flashes of lightning gradually ceased.

There have been many more storms since then, storms of life, tempest tossed. The faith that was instilled in me as a child revealed our Father God, though sometimes the pounding storms distracted me. The dark has a way of intensifying things doesn’t it? Where is hope in the middle of our storms?! It is difficult to hear God’s voice above stress and pain and His footsteps have gone unnoticed or forgotten.

A browned, slightly wrinkled piece of paper is a remnant of one of those stormy seasons of my life. It reads, “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still” (Psalm 107:29). Posted in my kitchen all these years, it is still a daily reminder that God is always with me, reassuring me and calming the storms.

Even after my father returned to his own room, his presence lingered in my mind. I knew that he was close by. I knew that he loved me, demonstrated by sacrificing his own sleep even though he was exhausted after a long day of work. My family was around me and we had survived the storm together!

Psalm 107 says so much about the storms of life. Wandering in the desert, hungry and thirsty, trouble, and darkness… We encounter and struggle with all of these. In times of distress, we can have hope and reassurance that we don’t face that alone. God delivers us. He brings us through, and His love is steadfast. I’m so thankful for that!

Just as the child that was me heaved a sigh of peace and drifted off to sleep, so can we all rest secure in God’s presence. He holds life in His hands and He’s always close by.

“He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed” … a reminder and a promise for us all. “Peace, be still!” *

*Psalm 107, Mark 4:39

Reflections on Fish

fish_underwater-1216244_1920_pixabay Simon H

Places to go and things to explore
• Stay out of the breakers to avoid trouble
• Joy carries us through dark fear and bright hope
• The immensity of one’s world is full of wonders
• Moving through life with others is a dance
• Life’s rhythm flows with energy
• Those gathered around us can bring protection and security
• Quiet presence when needed… is a gift
• When we are swimming freely… we are in our element
• Peace is found in quiet nooks

From “Reflections from the Everyday”

Cling

plastic wrap_pixabay_slide-967256_960_720

“Ahhhh!” Tearing plastic wrap off to place over a plate of food takes a knack! Have you ever wrestled with it, only to end up with a wadded mess or pulling out half the roll in attempts to get off a small piece?! After carefully pulling the mess apart or taking the whole roll out of the box and rolling some of it back up, the job is finally done.

I am reminded of a young child fearfully clinging to a parent when faced with a new situation or new people. It may take time to calm those fears as hands pat, kisses convey love, or words explain. That clinging speaks of a trust and a need which is basic for us all.

The psalmist spoke of clinging to God. “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.” Like the child clinging to that source of security, when we hold determinedly to our source of help and strength we are comforted.

Likewise, when I climbed the ladder to the roof of our house to clean out the gutters (Yes, I did that!) …I clung to the ladder and to the snow guards, secure as the work was done.

We have that same security in God as we cling to Him and to His words. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, said to “cling to what is good.” Sometimes things may seem to be a wadded-up mess, but when we stick with God, He helps us work through our difficulties. Our lives reflect His presence… Because He is our help, we can sing, confident that His hand holds us up.

Hold Us

children arm over shoulder - bw

Hold us, oh Lord
In your encircling arms
So wide so strong
Hold us, oh Lord
Quiet shelter

Hold us, oh Lord
We rest in You
Your unfailing presence
Hold us, oh Lord
Do not turn away

Hold us, oh Lord
We rejoice in You
Secure and protected
Hold us, oh Lord
Block temptation’s sway

Hold us, oh Lord
When doubts say flee
When fears would darken
Hold us, oh Lord
Your hands to calm

Hold us, oh Lord
Strong ship in storm
Firm tower in battle
Hold us, oh Lord
When our soul would faint

Hold us, oh Lord
We abide in You
Source of life and hope
Hold us, oh Lord
God Eternal

Elijah and the Still, Small Voice

Elijah! I love Elijah. Mighty prophet of God. Strong. Assured. Obedient to God’s commands. Through Elijah, God displayed His authority and great power to the people of Israel who had turned away! Fire from heaven burned up the soaking wet sacrifice… after futile attempts by the priests of Baal, god of fertility and nature, were unsuccessful. “Your god is no god!” … and 450 prophets of Baal perished.

Through Elijah, God withheld rain and a great drought resulted.

Through Elijah, God ended this drought with wind and pouring rain… and Elijah miraculously ran before the chariot of King Ahab to a town fourteen miles away.

…Then a vengeful Queen Jezebel declared death to Elijah and he ran away in fear… and ran… and ran… until he ended up in a faraway cave in which to hide.

I love Elijah! Doesn’t his story express the fear and discouragement we all feel at times? “I have given you my all God!” “Haven’t I obeyed you as best I can? I’ve been very busy doing all these things for You.” …“Now look at these hard-headed, self-centered, angry people! They have rejected you and killed all your other prophets and now I’m the only one left!”… “It’s useless. I might as well die too!”

So God passed by before that cave. There came a great wind, earthquake, and fire… but God was not in them. He who had spoken so forcefully and powerfully previously, so that all would know His authority, did not speak through them this time… God had Elijah’s full attention! But where was God?!
Then there came a still small voice, a quiet calm

Then there came a still small voice, a quiet calm.  Elijah heard the voice of God asking the same question He had asked before, “What are you doing here Elijah?” …and, still focused on himself, Elijah gave the same answer!

But in the quiet of that moment, came assurance that God was with him. “Go back Elijah. I have a job for you. There will be others to help you, kings to anoint and a prophet to succeed you. Why, there are 7000 prophets who will rise up to serve me!”

I love Elijah! His story gives us all hope and assurance. “Go back. I’m with you. You are not alone,” God says. So He speaks in that still small voice, in quiet calm amidst our storms. God had not given up on them. He hadn’t given up on Elijah and He hasn’t given up on us! He is mighty. He is faithful.

 

[Read Elijah’s story in 1 Kings Chapters 17-19 & 2 Kings Chapter 2.]