Psalm 107:28-30 – Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress; he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. (NRSV)
Yesterday morning, when I woke up, bright sun greeted me. Gradually through the morning hours, however, the skies became leaden gray and by 12:30, snow began drifting down. As predicted by our weather forecaster, by 1:00, snow was sluicing down. There were moments during the afternoon and evening that we could barely see through the blanket of snow. We were seemingly alone, in the middle of a whiteout and all of this sweeping snowfall. Heavy snow continued all day and into the night. I didn't know what to expect from this storm as I listened to the wailing winds whipping and whirling the snow all around. It was quite a snowstorm — one that local reports say dumped twenty-four inches of snow in its path.
By contrast, this morning we had a beautiful dawn with bright fingers of pink peeking through the trees behind my home. The storm was spent. Soon, shafts of sunbeams spread outward, highlighting the snow bonnets on all our bushes and the snow-festooned green pine trees, showing off their necklaces of white. There is brilliant hope for a new day, a good day. What a difference a day made!
What a difference, too, a day with our Lord makes. I realize, thinking about it now, that this is what happens in our personal and spiritual lives. Things may be going along well, and then the inevitable storms of life make their appearance, sometimes almost without warning. Storms develop, brought on by ill health, by death, by separations, by difficult things we may have to do in our jobs — to name just a few. Whatever the cause, we are faced with uncertainty and sometimes fear. Sometimes we panic. It is almost as if we are caught in a foreign land where nothing looks the same any more. What we thought was important turns out not to be, and different values seem to surface. We are not in control at all, and it is a fearsome place to be.
What do we do then as these storms swirl around us? My answer and the answer of faith and one that has really eased my fear, is to pray and give myself anew into Jesus' care. This trusting is hard, I know, but it is the only way and it works. Often, coming out of a deep faith, we find strength and courage we didn't know we had. We are led to move forward in different ways than we ever have before. We sense, too, the carrying by ever-loving arms at the time of deepest despair. We are never alone, for God is always there, the giver of hope.
Prayer: Holy One, we earnestly pray that through all the storms of our lives we will know of your presence. Comfort us in our fears. Give us courage to go forward. Ease our uncertainties. Smooth our troubled hearts. Give us new eyes of faith to see what you offer us and strong hands to hold on to you. May we never be separated from you, the one who calms each storm. We pray this through your Son, our Saviour. Amen.