by Lianne Eriksson
How do we come away after a storm has blown through our life?
Literal Storms. Figurative Storms.
Easter of 2010, a storm raged through the north Shuswap region and took out several huge trees on and around the property of St. David's church. The trees had always been there, but we had come to look right past them, and assumed they would always be there and trust, were flattened. The church building had escaped any damage, but the yard was littered, the shed toppled, and neighbouring homes were threatened. And with a sense of responsibility to step in and protect others, the church members were fearful and shaken from their roots.
Early in 2020 a strange new virus began to grow, and swept through not only our lives, the lives of our neighbours, our cities, our country, but it moved through the world. Confused, afraid, frustrated and bewildered we all stepped in to the pandemic and while shaken from our roots, we wrestled with our responsibility to keep ourselves and other safe. Lives were lost, jobs were lost, and as we began to awaken months later a number of business did not reopen. Relationships were tested and did not survive. Freedoms we took for granted and failed to recognized became precious and treasured.
When our lives become routine, structures become overlooked and we can’t imagine they are not permanent, how do we react to threats and whirlwinds of devastation. What do we do when the debris of life comes flying at us?
We accept, and glory in the wonderful world that God designed, where the sun can be warming and nurturing, but that same sun can dry and scorch, burning everything under it. The rains can water, clean, and take away thirst, or they can cut through land, wash away life, and destroy everything in its path. The winds that relieve us on a summer evening while we sit on patios and sip cool drinks, welcoming the ‘breezes’ on our skin, are the same winds that tear off roofs, topple trees and crush neighbourhoods. We welcome the ebb and flow of nature’s elements when they are mild and work well with in the life we've designed, but the real trick is to welcome the storms that whip through our lives and clean out the dead fall, wipe away the familiar and shake the solid from their foundations. Trusting that this is also part of the design God has for our world and that we are equipped to handle, survive and grow in it, is much more difficult.
Violent acts of nature change the physical world we live in, and we are challenged by them. We are challenged to reach out to others for help, to step up and give to those who need us, and we are challenged to take a new inventory of the valuables in our lives. Other storms can shake our emotional world, bringing about disease, injury, limiting our physical abilities, threaten our sense of safety and even taking away those we love. Can we work through the aftermath of these life storms with the same ability to count on others, to reach out and help where we are needed, and believe that God’s design, that which is not ours, is still glorious?
When all we can see of the life we had is litter, brokenness and loss, and we feel the force of the wind pushing us and taking away the ‘strong and stable’ that we have been leaning on to support us, we are called to reach out to others for help. We are called to see beyond our selves and our own damage, and to find where we can be of help to those who need us, and we are called to give God thanks, and glory, even when the work of being a Christian is difficult, painful, frightening, and shakes.
It makes no difference which side of life's storms we happen to be on, today we have a decision to make. What are we going to do with the rest of our life? Today is the first day that we have to do something. Whether we need help or are able to give is not the important part. What is important is we are all in this world together, good or bad, and God expects us not to waste the life he gave us. And the sacrifice he made to save us.
In the words of ~Thomas Watson
was poor, that he might make us rich.
He was born of a virgin that we might be born of God.
He took our flesh, that he might give us His Spirit.
He lay in the manger, that we may lie in paradise.
He came down from heaven, that he might bring us to heaven….
the ancient of Days should be born.
that he who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle….
that he who rules the stars should suck the breast;
that a virgin should conceive;
that Christ should be made of a woman, and of that woman which he himself made,
that the branch should bear the vine,
that the mother should be younger than the child she bare,
and the child in the womb bigger than the mother;
that the human nature should not be God, yet one with God
Christ taking flesh is a mystery we shall never fully understand till we come to heaven
If our hearts be not rocks, this love of Christ should affect us . Behold love that passeth knowledge!”