I stumbled across a blog entry of one of my former OBU classmates last week. She blogs occasionally about what she’s been reading and the kinds of things that have touched her heart or are on her mind. What she wrote really touched my heart and made an impact on me. So, I thought I’d switch up our blog a little bit and share with you some of the reflections that have been on my heart lately and what I thought about this weekend.
I was on a flight back from Salt Lake City last night, when we were told by the pilot that we were in a holding pattern over the mountains because of weather in Denver. I didn’t even know there was supposed to be bad weather in Denver on Friday. So for us, the holding pattern was flying around the mountains – in circles.
When we landed in Denver, it was storming all around us. We walked off the tarmac and into the terminal with some rain starting to spit on us. After I got my bag and headed to the car, it was pouring, as well as thundering & lightening!! Luckily I had parked in the garage – since last week when I left, it was also storming (with possibly 1 diameter sized hail!) and I wanted to keep the car protected and me protected – which worked out nicely last night as well! But as I was walking in the garage, I could look out and see the rain falling, see the lightening light up the garage, plus feel & hear the thunder! But I was fully protected! I got in the car and headed into the downpour of rain so I could get home. While on my way home, I was listening to K-Love and Mercy Me’s “Bring the Rain” was playing… how ironic! But as I listened to the words… it touched my heart! Here is the chorus and one of the final lines of the song:
Mercy Me: Bring the Rain
So I pray:
Bring me joy, bring me peace, Bring the chance to be free, Bring me anything that brings You glory And I know there’ll be days When this life brings me pain
But if that’s what it takes to praise You Jesus, bring the rain.
I am yours regardless of the clouds that may loom above because you are much greater than my pain.
All the storms in life: losing someone you love, stress at work, frustrations at work, stress in your personal life, frustrations with our work schedules not lining up the way we’d like them to…. whatever it is, Jesus may bring the rain…but he’s always going to be there for us. He may have us sitting in a holding pattern – whether it’s us suffering through something in this holding pattern, feeling like we’re just going in circles or just waiting and waiting until His perfect timing to make something happen in our lives – He already has those plans figured out and His “holding patterns” are just they way He wants them…. for some reason we don’t know… through it all He’s there putting His plans into action. Jeremiah 29:11 says “‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” I trust God’s plans!!
My Senior year of High School, I had an illness that was very frustrating, but the verse that got me through it was 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But He said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.‘ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. This is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” And another one of my favorite verses is James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
When I have a bad day, I need to remember God’s Love, God’s Patience, God’s endurance, God’s comfort… all those things that He is. Whether it’s a good day, a bad day, a happy day, a sad day, or a stressful day…He covers all those things and makes everything better. He’s the rock I can always lean on. Psalm 18:2-3 says “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.”
On our California trip back in April, the day we drove from LA to Monterey, was the worst and the best day all in one. It was raining all day long and because of that rain there was a mudslide that added a 4 hour detour to our drive… but when we turned around to take that our detour, we saw the most beautiful rainbow ever! That’s one of our best memories ever! God makes rainbows! And on that day, when we were so frustrated because of the fact that our day just got longer, we took comfort in that rainbow! We made big prints of that rainbow picture (a portrait version of the picture above) so that we can both put that picture in our cubes at work. That reminds us of God’s promises – He may bring the rain, but what a beautiful picture we get to see afterwards! If we didn’t trek through the rain that day, we wouldn’t have seen such an awesome rainbow! I know struggles in life are there for a reason and in the end, we see God’s rainbow! Even though that day was really long and frustrating, we still enjoyed almost every part of it; we did some hiking to a waterfall, saw the most beautiful coastline and just had a blast! Which is why it was the best day – as well as the worst day!
When I was driving home last night, the rain had stopped by the time I exited off of I-25… so when I got into our neighborhood it didn’t look like it had rained and stormed here at all! So other than my car being wet and gross from the drive I just took, no one knew I’d been in that storm! That’s how we should be in life – if we have to make it through a storm, we shouldn’t dwell on the bad experience and let people know how AWFUL that experience was… but show them what we learned from that storm, how we grew, how we trusted God. In my driving analogy, I can say that as I drove home I listened to K-Love and sang praise songs to God and asked for protection as I drove. Am I a changed person because of it? Probably not – other than these reflections that went through my head during that drive that I’m sharing with you. So my drive home through the storm isn’t the best analogy for the point I’m trying to make here – but in all reality, when we go through a storm – people may not know where we’ve come from or what we’re going through but we have to show them God’s light in all of it. Why else are we on this earth but to give Him glory? We give Him glory by showing the growth that happens whether in storms or in an easy day-to-day life.
Sometimes I feel like the children of Israel, wondering around in the wilderness for 40 years… okay, so I haven’t even been alive that long… but sometimes that’s the kind of feeling I have. Now that I have my airplane holding pattern experience, that’s a little easier to explain – because it was a 40 minute holding pattern, not 40 years. In my lifetime, there will be a myriad of trials. Some trials may be as short as 40 minutes: maybe a frustration at work or being stuck in traffic or on an airplane. Some trials may be a few days, weeks or months long. Some trials could even be 40 years long. Only God knows how long each of my struggles will be and He has a plan to get me through them. This morning I was listening to Shane Barnard’s song “Waiting Room” and that put a lot of things into perspective. Here are some of the lyrics:
Shane & Shane: Waiting Room
I will run when I cannot walk, I will sing when there is no song. I will pray when there is no prayer, I will listen when I cannot hear.
Lord I know if I change my mind, You will change my heart in time, Sovereign Lord this time’s from You, so I sit in the waiting room of silence, cause its all about You.
I will fight when I cannot feel, I will trust when You don’t seem real. I will tell when I cannot speak, I will step when I cannot see.
So while I’m waiting, no matter the circumstances, I need to focus on the Lord and remember that He knows my heart and my struggles and He’ll lead me on His path. If I can change my mind, God will change my heart in time! I do believe that even if I cannot change my mind about a situation, if I’m trusting God with my life, He will help change my heart and my mind! I have to make sure my heart is in the right place, trusting in God to be my strength. His peace will be my peace. Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
I’ll end with this verse; Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong & courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” That’s my charge from God – be strong & courageous! He’s on my side!