Monday, April 28, 2014

The Storm

Many of you know the Hurst family's story.  David passed away 6 months ago from brain cancer. (You can read about it here) Yesterday marked the 6th month anniversary, so I was thinking about Dana as our Sunday School teacher was talking about the story of Jesus calming the storm with the disciples.  If you are not familiar with the story, it is found in  Matthew 8:23-27 and Luke 8:22-25.  Jesus has been ministering to people, and he tells the disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side of the sea of Galilee.  A severe storm rises up, one that even these seasoned fishermen are afraid of, one they even fear dying in, so they awaken Jesus.  He calms the sea with His words.
Dana has been through her own storm with David's diagnosis and then losing him.  I sent her a text with the words that our teacher said, because she came to mind when I heard them.  "God isn't awakened by the storm or what's going on around him, only the cries and pleas of His people.  When Jesus was asleep on the boat with the raging sea around him, He came awake when they begged for help."  We see the humanity of Jesus needing rest; we see His trust in God as He rests peacefully through a violent storm, we see His attentiveness as He awakens to their cries, and we see His power as "all was calm" after He rebuked the wind and raging waters.  What touched me--HE AWAKENS to the CRIES Of HIS PEOPLE.  He cares so deeply about your situation that He comes running to you in love when you cry out to Him with your hurt, anger or frustration.  Even though in human form He needed a break from helping people, He interrupted His nap for His friends' needs.  As we just celebrated Easter, He rose again, ascended to Heaven after appearing to many, and now He is available to us anytime through His Holy Spirit!

Little did I know as I wrote the text at 8:50pm that Arkansas had just endured terrible storms.  Scott and I grew up in Little Rock, and his parents are still there.  We got an e-mail about our sister-in-law's parents whose street in Mayflower had been hit hard.  We only saw a few images, but it was clear the area was devastated in the blink of an eye.  Here is one of the few videos posted last night.
A long time ago I had heard that tornadoes are a symbol of judgement when I kept having recurring dreams with tornadoes in them.  I googled different commentaries last night to see what I could find while thinking about the map visual of where the tornadoes had hit in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. Perhaps the most notable commentary actually refuted the idea that it was God's judgement, because often areas that are hit by tornadoes are filled with faith-filled people (Joplin, MO, for example).  He actually mentioned his theory that it was more of a test like Job endured.  Not that Satan can cause tornadoes, but that he uses this opportunity to test people.  Job lost it all, but He trusted God, and in time, his life was rebuilt.  I went to bed trying to sort it all out in my mind.

This morning I have been weeping for the friends of friends who lost family members or whole houses as I see various posts and more pictures.  All they have left is the clothes they were wearing.  My heart breaks for the mother who lost her husband and two oldest daughters along with their entire house.  This is a picture someone just posted of what's left of their home.  They are enduring deep, deep loss today.  It's so shocking to try to understand how the fury of a storm can cause this much grief and destruction in such a few moments.
I weep for the parents who lost both of their school-aged boys last night.  Today, these families awoke knowing they had lost everything dear to them in the blink of an eye.  I kept thinking about the message I had sent to Dana last night--Jesus awakens because He hears the cries of His people.  If you call out to Him, He will answer!  He is with us in the storms!  He is not asleep, but the message is that our cries are worth His time and focus.  He cares so deeply for those who are hurting.  The Bible promises "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Ps. 34:18

Then a couple of hours ago, a local news station posted this picture.  My tears started to flow.  Of course, though some might declare a different opinion, I am certain this was not God's judgement.  And these people who have lost Earthly possessions and some loved ones are rising up with their faith.  And many people are rising up to help.
I know many of you have endured storms in your life or maybe you are in the middle of a storm.  I will close with the Casting Crowns CD song, "I Will Praise You in This Storm."

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