I knew the times would come and now the times have landed
with stinging abrasion
As ready as I seem to be
it's never like I planned it
I have several friends who are battling through storms in their lives right now. Some of them bigger storms than others. Tornado or hurricane big. But one thing my friends all have in common is the hand they're holding in the middle of their challenges. They are all holding the hand of God.
We live in a world that loves to protest. I think it's just our human nature to always be on the lookout for situations where we or those we are close to or those we connect with for one reason or another have been wronged. From situations as challenging as personal tragedies or battles over human rights, to seemingly simpler infractions like the guy who cut me off in traffic this morning taking me just south of the border of road rage, our protest signs are always locked, loaded, and ready to wave.
God gets that about us. He especially understands it when our protest signs end up on his front lawn. I have friends who are bravely battling cancer, frightfully caring for sick children, heroically trying to navigate the unfamiliar waters of single parent after their spouse was unexpectedly taken from their family. All of them, I know, have had to ask God that most natural protest question of all: why?
One of my favorite bible heroes, Paul, who faced his own fair share of storms, once said, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Phillipians 4:13). Over the years, in trying to survive and make sense of some of my own storms, I've come to understand Paul meant something much deeper in these words than just hold my hand and I will help you survive this. Paul was teaching us that not only was God going to lovingly share His own strength through the storm, he was going to strengthen us in the process. He was going to insure we exit our storm with increased personal strength, leaving us much better prepared for the next challenge. Because there's one thing we know for sure about life, one thing God knows for sure - the storms keep coming.
God only asks one thing of us in that process. He wants us to recognize that even though the challenge is daunting, through it he is doing some amazing things. On the other side of the heartache and hurt and countless tears is a changed person. Sometimes miraculously so. One who is closer to Him. One better prepared to share the story of His love with a world that desperately needs to hear it. He promises that if we'll only take hold of his hand during the protest, he will lead us to a place of peace that surpasses all understanding. He will show us how to turn protest to praise.
The song below has been a longtime favorite of mine. A constant reminder to stay focused on turning my protests into praise.