Friday, October 16, 2015

Blue skies, big rocks, and the storm in the forecast

 A few weeks ago when one of our daughters was having a particularly difficult time with her job, I told her I would be praying that she would have a nice day at work.

“Mom,” she said kindly.  “I appreciate your encouragement, and I appreciate your prayers, but it is not going to be a great day.  With everything I have on my plate today, it is going to be a rather difficult one.  That is already evident.”

She stopped me in my tracks.

What puny things have I been praying?  Praying for  “a nice day,” when she is in the thick of battle and slogging through the miry bog and squeezed between the proverbial rock and hard place?

 Shame on me.  “Have a nice day?”  Where is God’s strength in that?

 God does not want her to “look on the bright side of life,” and to pretend all is good and easy in the midst of the turbulent storm.  God wants her to know the reality of His Presence when life is tough, to know the strength and peace that only He can give in impossible situations.  He wants her to know that He is her Redeemer, no matter what is happening.  God is sovereign, even in this. He wants her to possess deep roots in Him, no matter the landscape, no matter the drought, no matter the storm.  God is her Rock.  God is her stronghold in the day of trouble.  God is the Almighty God, not a warm fuzzy feeling when the skies are blue and everything is going my way.

Recently I went hiking with friends along a rushing mountain stream.  The path was strewn with huge rocks, the water danced wildly between the boulders, the leaves revealed their true colors against an azure sky.  Our sights were drawn upward to the waterfall ahead and to the boughs of the deep forest reaching high as if in praise of the Creator.  But as we hiked up that stony trail, I began to notice huge trees alongside of us, living trees that were growing out of sheer rock, defying all reason to even be there, let alone thriving in that absurd place.  “You should not even be able to grow there,” I said out loud.  But they do, and they are stronger for it.

We pray for our children to be those luscious green trees that send down their roots by streams of waters.  But I am convicted that we should be praying for a faith that thrives even out of sheer rock, not dependent on favorable conditions, but rooted instead in a God who is there no matter what.  “…so live in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith… and to grow with a growth that is from God.” (Colossians 2.  6-7, 19)

God’s strength transcends all circumstances.

Though the fig tree do not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet  I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
He makes my feet like hinds’ feet,
He makes me tread upon my high places.
                                      Habakkuk 3. 17-19

Pray like that.
Live like that
                 in the high scary places
                 in the miry bog
           even in what seems impossible
with a strength that is not your own.

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