We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
I Corinthians 4:8-10 (21st Century King James Version).
Hi, and I’m glad to be back! Thank God my wife’s recovering from her surgery; not ready to run the New York Marathon, however is coming along as expected.
As I write this post, the Northeast is gearing up for a snowstorm that plans to dump around two feet in New England; in excess of a foot here in God’s Country (NJ-NY area) with a Blizzard warning in effect. What will start as heavy rain for the morning commute will segue into snow by late afternoon straight into Saturday morning…ugh! Cancellations, early dismissals, etc are going into effect. For a region still recovering from October’s Hurricane Sandy this is the last thing people want to hear. Coastal flooding, high winds, potentials for power outages, bring back memories of the past storm As people stock up for the worst, all we can do is watch and hope for the best.
This whole scenario is much like life at times. A “storm” in our lives will come upon us, do its damage, then blow away. Storms of illness, financial difficulty, domestic issues, death, or storms that affect us indirectly come into our lives-with or without warning. After the storm, we’ll sometimes have the calm that helps us regroup and recover. Then there are times when we’ll have one storm after another-almost like here in the post-Sandy Northeast.
Tonight’s text is Paul’s declaration of what vicissitudes he faced as a missionary, vicissitudes that could make anyone opt out of the ministry. However, Paul-empowered by the Divine-stayed in the game, unconquered by his circumstances. And it’s through these experiences-or “storms”-where Paul (and even those in the boardinghouse-hold of Faith) reflect Christ the most.
While on Earth, Jesus caught a lot of shit from people as he lived the Divine: criticized, mocked, challenged, falsely accused, taken advantage of, and ultimately tried in a kangaroo court and crucified. Yet during these times, Jesus too didn’t cut out and run. Jesus could also quote the same above Scripture with Paul. Both Jesus and Paul serve as models for us today. We’re going to catch shit in our lives that’s going to knock us over and send us in a tailspin-take if from current personal experience. We’re going to have people, circumstances, and events bring storms in our lives-be they cyclical or one after another. And (again take it from personal experience) you’re going to reach that place where you wish you can materialize an “Exit” door and hop through it just to get away from it all.
However, like Paul (and Jesus) we have that Divine power that will help us to survive life’s storms as they come. We can tap into that power-be it through prayer, chanting, singing, worship, meditation, creativity (like me), talking it out with a trusted friend, whatever practice you do-and we’ll bring forth the God-given survival tools to help us endure the storm.
Trust me, this is no “get happy” post-telling you that everything’s “gonna be alright”. Storms do happen and it ain’t always gonna be alright. However with God’s empowering we’ll survive whatever storm we find ourselves in…
And the next storm as well. Peace.