Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Mid-Week Message - Praising Through the Rain

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you."  Isaiah 43:2  (NLT)

During the last few months, rain has fallen in considerable amounts in our area of Georgia.  The ground is so saturated that after just a light rain there is standing water in the grassy areas.  While Australia was ablaze, we were making jokes about needing an ark.  I wondered why God couldn't send some of our over abundance of moisture to those in Australia who were praying for it as they watched land, homes and animals charred.  

Last night Tennessee was hit by numerous tornadoes and, at the last count that I heard, 22 precious lives were lost.  While I was lamenting another day of the inconvenience of puddles, these lives were being lost and homes and businesses were being ravaged.  It was a stark reminder that I need to be grateful for today because there may not be a tomorrow.

Several years ago, a young lady who was a student at the school I was working at, died of leukemia.  Since it was a small school and her mother and father taught there, we knew her fairly well.  She was beautiful and bubbly, athletic and talented, gentle and kind.  She had a sweet disposition and a great sense of humor.  Everyone took it hard when she passed away and there wasn't an empty seat to be found at her celebration of life.  I dreamed about her recently, and though I know it was just a dream, I felt honored to have gotten to see her again.  

The reason I mention this dear one is to relate the story of her family, particularly her parents, during her funeral.  I haven't been called upon to give up my child but I can only imagine that it must bring about more pain than the human heart can handle without divine help.  However, as the music played during her service, her parents stood and raised their hands toward Heaven and praised the Lord.  As I watched I realized that they understood what many do not and that is that no matter what happens in this life on earth, God is still God and His love and grace never waiver.  They praised out of their great love for Him and the knowledge that their beloved daughter was with Him and, in time, they would be reunited.  Knowing those things didn't take away their sadness but it helped them to snuggle in close to Him and allow Him to carry them through their time of grief.  

Tumults come into our lives in many forms, but there is none greater than the One who calmed the storm that we have learned about in Sunday School.  Just as He was able to order the storm to be quiet as related in scripture, so He is greater than any difficulty, struggle or tragedy that we may face today.  Even when we are overwhelmed, nothing catches Him by surprise or causes Him worry.  He is all-knowing and has all power and is more than capable of seeing us through any battle that we face.  

Just as my friends looked up during their deepest time of sorrow, so we should all look up as we encounter times of rain in our lives.  Our tears may make our sight blurry, but our hearts and spirits will find comfort in the presence of the One who loves us with an everlasting love.  God bless.

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