I was sitting on the deck today, reading and I couldn't help but notice the wind.
I've said before that wind happens to be one of my favorite things. Most of the time it reminds me of a gust of refreshment and the powerful presence of God, but today the wind reminded me of something else.
Today the Los Angeles Times reported that more than 11 million people have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan, as well as 660,000 people are homeless. Some people have estimated that the death toll will be around 10,000 and others have guessed around 2,000. No doubt, the Philippines has experienced the most powerful storm yet.
|Erik De Castro/Reuters|
|Noel Celis AFP/via Getty Images|
We've experienced plenty of tropical storms here in the south, but nothing to the magnitude of Typhoon Haiyan. As I sat on the deck this morning, the wind spoke to me.
I heard it in the distance.
I saw it through the trees.
Yet, I wasn't being affected by it.
I was in the calm, while others were in the storm. Just like we are in the calm over here in America, while the people of the Philippines are in the storm. Aside from actual storms, it's the same in life.
As I watched the leaves struggle to hang on, the branches sway to and fro, and the dirt be lifted off the ground, it made me think of the times in life when we struggle to hang on...when we sway to and fro...and when we are thrown off our feet.
Times of divorce, sickness, and death can feel like a storm. Either we are the ones experiencing the storm or we watching a person face that storm. Both places aren't fun places to be in. Although I didn't experience Typhoon Haiyan, it still makes my stomach hurt and heart ache to think about the emptiness, sadness and anger they must be feeling. It's not an easy place to be in.
Storms like these often make people question the character of God.
However, times like these are simply the reality of life.
Thankfully, these times don't last forever, even if it may feel like it.
They are followed by a time of stillness, quiet, clean up and rebirth.
In the still and the quiet, we are able to clean up the mess, while realizing that God did not send the wind to destroy us. He didn't send a typhoon to kill thousands of people (at least I don't think He did). You know why I think that?
God is love and I can't seem to bring myself to believe that love would kill and destroy.
The reality is, we are in a battle between good and evil.
Ephesians 6:10-20 says, " Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."
Jesus conquered the grave already and He will bring victory once and for all, when He comes again. For right now, we are in the middle of this tug-of-war match. Sometimes the bad wins, but in the end, good conquers. Jesus is the one who is walking with us in the these storms and lends a hand to pick us up. He is in the business of rebirth and redemption. Just like Apostle Paul says in Ephesians, we must put on the armor of God and stand firm in His promises. Like the trunk of a tree and the ground that is holding it in place, God's promises can ground us through the wrestling of the wind.
Hard times will come. The roll of the winds will break and we'll be able to catch our breath and receive peace. Our thankfulness for the quiet times becomes magnified and if we never faced the roll of the wind, we would take the calming times for granted. The gusts of wind sometimes force us to cling to God our vine, look toward hope, and appreciate the quiet times even more.
Lets pray for those around us who are in the middle of a storm, as well as our brothers and sisters in the Philippines. Let us also pray that we have strength to stand firm and remember God's presence in our lives even when a storm rolls through.
Bible reading plan this week: