Tuesday, June 26, 2012

When the storms of life are raging stand by me - reflections on Tropical Storm Debbie and being safe and secure in the everlasting arms of Christ.

SCRIPTURE: John 12:27, 28 (NIV)
Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour”? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour, Father, glorify your name!

The photographer for a national magazine was assigned to get photos of a great forest fire. Smoke at the scene hampered him and he asked his home office to hire a plane. Arrangements were made and he was told to go at once to a nearby airport, where the plane would be waiting. When he arrived at the airport, a plane was warming up near the runway. He jumped in with his equipment and yelled, "Let's go! Let's go!" The pilot swung the plane into the wind and they soon were in the air. 
"Fly over the north side of the fire," yelled the photographer, "and make three or four low level passes." 
"Why?" asked the pilot. 
"Because I'm going to take pictures," cried the photographer. "I'm a photographer and photographers take pictures!" 
After a pause the pilot said, "You mean you're not the instructor?" 

Tropical Storm Debbie has been moving very slowly up the Gulf of Mexico and has now turn eastward. In its path there has been a lot of rain, some strong wind gusts and several tornados. We are now facing the results of all that water – coastal flooding, sinkholes and in a few days, lots of mosquitos.  Some individuals have also experienced some structural problems with their homes, like a leaky roof, missing shingles, uprooted trees while others have lost their electricity in the process.

In the midst of all of this I had an overriding sense of peace. The house was quiet. I was ready for bed wrapped in a warm and comfortable housecoat. A good book was spread before me. Soft light filled the room. I sat there safe and secure in our home as I listened to the wind blowing and the heavy rain beating against the roof. I felt safe. I felt secure. I felt at peace. My thoughts brought up the strain of the last hymn we had sung that morning in worship: “…safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.”

Jesus, in his time of trouble, turned to the Father – safe and secure as he leaned into that relationship. He would have preferred not to face the trials and tribulations that were coming his way, but he knew that the Father was in charge … God had an ultimate purpose in mind ... “glorify your name”. On the other hand, we need the presence of the instructor. Too many of us are like the “pilot” in the story in that we discover that we have made some assumptions concerning the individuals involved in our life thinking that they are something or someone that they are not. We’ve “turned” our life over to them thinking that they know something that we don’t. We’ve relinquished control based on a conclusion not backed up by the facts. “What you’re not the instructor?” Too late, we are already in full flight. Ouch! “Safe and secure in the everlasting arms” becomes a desperate prayer for help instead of words of praise and gratitude.

Another hymn, if you please: “When the storms of life are raging, Stand by me; When the storms of life are raging, Stand by me. When the world is tossing me… Like a ship upon the sea, Thou who rulest wind and water, Stand by me.”

May it be so!

The storms of life are raging around us today so, Lord, stand by us each step of the way and give us the instructions that we need to survive. 

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