I've recently been listening to Matt Redman's CD Unbroken Praise on repeat. The words to almost every song echo what is in my heart. It is comforting, joyous, and just full of worship.
One song in particular, Songs in the Night, has been a kind of anthem to me. The phrase I keep repeating over and over is "When I am in the storm, the storm is not in me. You will be my peace. I'll wait here." This line has been so true for me over the last month. It has gotten me through moments of doubt, fear, anger, confusion, and tears. If I ever appear calm or in control or like I am handling things well, it is because of the truth of this statement. I may be in a storm, but the storm is not in me because the Holy Spirit is. He gives peace when all seems to be falling apart around us. He gives peace when the storm rages on every side. He gives a peace that surpasses all understanding. I don't know how anyone gets through the death of a loved one without Christ as their peace. When you don't have that peace, the storm begins to brew inside of you and eventually takes over. When the Spirit is in you, it can rage wildly all around, but never gets to the heart. Oh, you'll cry, have pain, feel doubt, fear, and worry, but when you keep your eyes on your Maker, He will pull you through.
I find this hard sometimes, when thinking of Kevin. The Spirit was in him, but in those last moments, he looked at the storm, not the Maker, and that makes all the difference. Oh, but what joy and peace I have that, even in the moment he looked away, God's hand was still there, still reaching out, and still was mighty to save. Would I have preferred that He save Kevin and keep him here with us? Of course. But God's ways are not our ways. Kevin lived some very hard years addicted to a pain medication that would not let him go. He spent years battling depression that wanted to put an end to him. Neither of those diseases is a matter of self-control or simple bad choices. They are a reality we can see of a battle with an enemy we can't. From the moment you turn your life over to Christ, be ready for a battle. Satan wants what is God's and if he can't have it, he'll settle for destroying what is God's instead. That includes you. That included Kevin. He fought. Hard. With every weapon he knew to use. I don't know why God didn't choose to answer our desperate, daily pleas for complete healing of his brain and body while here on earth, but I know that He did give him complete healing of his brain and body the moment his life here ended. For that, I choose to be thankful. And I can only choose to be thankful because, though I am in the storm, the storm is not in me.
There have been many moments in the last few years that my eyes have been on the storm, not the Maker. Those moments are terrifying. In those moments I can't see how I can possibly keep going. It's just too hard. I've tried hard to be real, open, and genuine so you know that it's not all pretty Instagram moments and Pinterest perfect days. It's not! It never will be. But, placing your hope and trust in Christ will pull you through the harshest of storms. You may be battered and bruised, but you'll come out the other side shouting praises and resting in the peace of your Savior who walks with you every step of the way. That is the ugly beautiful of this Christ-filled life.
Are you worried? Look to Christ. Are you fearful? Look to Christ. Are you confused? Look to Christ. Take His hand. Trust His sovereignty. No matter how many steps you've taken away from Him, He will always be there to take you back. I love thinking of Him as the good shepherd, who leaves the other 99 of His flock to go find the one that got lost. Just because you are a believer and the Spirit lives in you doesn't mean you won't make mistakes or struggle or have storms in your life. It does mean, however, that He's always right there, ready to grab hold of you and carry you through the storm. Call out to Him. Take His hand. Allow Him to lead and guide you. Let Him fill you with His peace that passes all understanding. Then you, too will be able to sing, "When I am in the storm, the storm is not in me. You will be my peace. I'll wait here."