Hawkeye Seventh-day Adventist® Church

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Ps 27:1


The last few weeks have delivered many storms to us here in Northeast Iowa.  While this is not an unusual spring occurrence, it has seemed that storm warnings have been a bit more frequent and longer. But perhaps that is my misconception. Storms in daylight hours are not my favorite, storms at night I really truly don't like! I prefer to see what trouble is coming in my direction. It makes me sad to see the destruction of homes and farms and trees and cars and machinery. That destruction is hard to overcome.
My experience with tornados started in 1968 and I have memories that have lasted a long time. Recovery is possible but heart rendering when it is you that must do the recovery. One person after losing everything to a tornado, said, "God showed His dominion over all. I am in shock, but I know that God wants me to go on."
One farm couple only had 2 still-standing structures. When they were asked about the experience, they said, "We were having trouble downsizing, but God took care of that problem. Now we can move forward to the next stage of our lives." That statement is almost what I could say this week. I was in need of some help with cleaning and mopping and moving things. Some very kind helpers came to assist me! While they were kind and attacked my need for help like a whirlwind because their time was short, their questions to me almost came as fast as a tornado wind. I was asked repeatedly to make decisions on what to keep and what to get rid of and if I still wanted it, then where should it be placed. My tornado helpers helped me downsize! New eyes and ideas helped me make decisions that I needed to make.
Perhaps there are other life-altering tragedies for some who read this. But these examples of victims and the wise of them had hopeful examples for us. We can see them coping emotionally and recovering after disaster when we see and hear them remember God's leading through every time of trouble. Sometimes recovery from disaster is relatively short term but powerful destructive events like floods and tornadoes and hurricanes and fire and war and famines usually affect more than one generation. Immediate responses are helped out by adrenaline to survive the immediate trauma, for both the survivors and those helping with rescue and response and for those who start to begin restoring back to an acceptable state. Often there is emotional fatigue and years of recovery, sometimes with anxiety, depression, exhaustion. And then, eventually something happens when the realization comes and we realize we aren't the same as we were before the disaster, but we have confidence that we can go on. Disasters provide us with opportunities to make ourselves better people. We can learn lessons in humility, caring for others and hope, when little else exists except a Higher Force and the support of friends, neighbors, care-givers and recovery programs. 
Disappointments come often to me, more often than I like. Some disappointments border on the side of being storms and tragedies. A couple could be considered life-altering. For many of us, we need those life-altering tragedies and storms, even when we think that we prefer no storms in our lives. 
We were disappointed when Garry was forced to stop his bus driving job because he did not meet the physical requirements for a school bus driver. It was disappointing to him for he loved being with the kids and has always loved driving, any kind of driving. Driving a school bus was daily driving and he did not tire of it. The day he had to stop came unexpectedly. The years he had been driving had an effect that had not occurred to us until it ended. He was having a lot of trouble walking. It was very hard for him. Then came the day when the driving ended. That day, week, or month was the timing of me suddenly not being able to walk! It was a time of  "unexpected storms" for us. And when the storm of my not being able to walk came to me and Garry was forced to be my feet and legs, God allowed him to lose his job and have the chance to be able to do those things for me. God's timing is perfect whether we think so or not. When Garry started to get more exercise (walking for me) because of no job, it was only then he found that he could walk better! It was an added bonus!
One of our sons also experienced losing a job a couple of years ago. It was another "storm" for him that he did not want nor enjoy. The storm almost brought him down. But he has found peace in the midst of the storm and sees that God had a place for him that is rewarding and one that lets him lead others in a journey to knowing Jesus. 
The first time I learned that the word "divorce" applied to someone in my family tree, I was shocked and could not understand how that could happen—in my family! It caused me to lose many hours of sleep. Since then, my more immediate family has again experienced the storm of divorce. It is a storm that no one wants—ever. It is devastating. It is traumatizing. It causes depression, and it takes years to overcome. It destroys like the tornado storm disaster. It tosses bits and pieces of your life here and there, hither and yon. Yet through it all, we can see God's hand guiding and leading to something far better. Storms often have rainbows at the end with the promise of a new and better day to come.
For nearly a year, I have had a storm of pain coming at me. I cannot escape this time of trouble for me. I have been offered remedies and I still experience pain. The best solution is a traumatic one for me--surgery. But in this case, the pain has become extreme enough that I was willing to have relief from the storm of pain even if it means surgery! The surgery is emotional trauma for me to think about. I know that when the day arrives, I will need to think about Jesus and what he has done and experienced that is far worse than anything I am going through. And then this week, as I was more than ready for this upcoming hip surgery, I received news that another storm, potentially an even worse storm was headed my direction and this new storm was going to cause me to have the hip surgery postponed, perhaps a couple of months or more. I was devastated by this new storm of a cancer   diagnosis. All I could do was cry! I was definitely feeling like I was in a whirlwind—tornado like storm. I can’t stop the things that are coming at me one after another. I can’t go hide in a safe room either. And yet, I am reminded that God's hand is in our lives and His timing always ends up the best way.
Jesus Himself, had a catastrophic storm at the end of His life—a storm of sacrifice that ended His life!! He experienced all the emotions that tragic events cause us to experience. emotional fatigue, recovery, anxiety, depression, exhaustion. He was as we are—we do not want the storms of life. And He did not cause His storm. We caused the storm that took away His life. As awful as my storms are, they do not compare to the Storms that Jesus experience—experienced for me and for you! Praise God that He survived the storm that came to Him. 
I am looking forward to the day when I too can say that I survived the flood of pain and storm of cancer, that I am an overcomer, that I survived! That I conquered my fear, that I won't let any flood of pain or storm of cancer win. Jesus says He wins and that with Him, we also can all be winners and survivors.
I will Survive the storms!

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