I’ve heard it said that in life we are always in one of three situations: heading into a storm, going through a storm, or coming out of a storm. I tend to agree with this philosophy, as dismal as it may seem. Right now you could say that I am in a pretty wicked storm.
Although this is not the first (and by nature of said philosophy, certainly not the last) I will encounter, this one has been particularly brutal and all encompassing. Admittedly, I have struggled to keep my head above water and constantly find myself gasping for air. I can’t seem to recover from one wave before another comes crashing in. The thought “Give up” has crossed my mind more than I care to acknowledge.
It’s a tough place to be, but perception is everything in surviving and learning to thrive in a storm. I heard Joel Osteen say that “Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.” I have to admit, I am not sure I subscribe totally to that but, I do believe that all things work out for the good of the Lord and God can take anything and use it for our benefit. I’ve seen it so many times in my own life.
That being said, I had to ask myself, “What is this storm doing for me?
When my daughter was little, she had an allergic reaction to something she ate. Her face, chest and legs began to swell and fill with red marks. She started to complain of an itchy throat and I knew what was coming next. I rushed her to the ER. I drove like a maniac and when we arrived, I ran toward the desk screaming with her in my arms. The staff realizing something was very wrong, ran toward me, scooped her out of my arms and bolted toward the back. By this time my daughter was completely panicked.
She couldn’t breathe well and didn’t understand why I let strangers take her from me. After understanding the nature of the injury, the nurse screamed for an epinephrine shot “STAT”. My daughter, petrified, wordless looked at me as if to say “Mommy save me!” It was absolutely gut-wrenching.
I could tell she thought the medical staff was trying to hurt her. She went into full flight or fight mode and began hitting and kicking at the nurses and doctor. Several people restrained her while the nurse tried to administer the shot into her thigh. When she felt the needle pierce her skin, my daughter’s eyes widened. She shrieked and bucked pushing two adults off her causing the needle to come out.
Medicine went everywhere but in her body.
They ran to get another vial. We needed to stop this reaction or her throat could swell shut. She was wheezing; we were out of time. I climbed on top of the examination table and pinned her down. I looked her in the eye, sat nose to nose and almost growled “Sit still.” The seriousness and firmness in my voice registered with her.
I could tell she was as confused as she was afraid, but there was no time to explain. She would just need to trust me. In that moment, I appeared to be doing something to her, not for her.
But see, I know my child. It would have been pointless to ask her to calm down and relax, she was absolutely petrified and her life was at risk. I knew she needed the medication and I did what I knew would get her to sit still immediately. The nurse was then able to give her an epinephrine shot.
As soon as it was over I picked her up and held her close. We cried together for a good while. I’m not sure she ever truly understood in that moment why I seemed to be hurting her but, she knew without a doubt that I loved her. By the very nature of love, she knew that I wanted what was in her best interest.
That is how I am choosing to view this storm. It seems as though God is doing things to me. There are things that hurt and scare me. Sometimes God feels so distant and I can’t understand why, in the darkest moments, God seems the furthest away. I buck and writhe and beg to be saved. But, just like I know my child, God knows us and can see things that we may never understand.
Sometimes God will pin us down, look us eye to eye and command us to sit still. Please know that in these intense, scary and painful moments you are loved and cared for. Just as a mother knows her child, God knows you. The Lord knows exactly what you need even when you don’t.
Deep in my soul I know God loves me and is doing things on my behalf, despite the how terrifying things get. I will sit still and receive the healing that I need.
Jeremiah 29:11 says:
11 I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.
This helps me understand that sometimes those things don’t appear to be helping me could potentially be saving my life. I don’t really understand why things have to hurt or be frightening at times but then, that’s not for me to know. God’s ways and thoughts are nothing like mine (Isaiah 55:8). I will stop bucking and writhing around in fear and acknowledge the awesome existence of God in my life (Psalm 46:10).
So what is this storm doing for me?
Among other things, it has strengthened and deepened my faith and given me a fuller understanding of God’s purpose for my life. It’s helping me learn how to trust GOD, which, in my opinion, is not the easiest thing in the world.
I’m not sure I’ll ever know the full extent, much like my daughter never realized what I did for her. But, who knows…maybe it’s saving my life.
Thank you GOD for the storms in our lives. While we may never really fully understand the purpose of trials in our lives, we ask that You help guide us through and comfort us when it’s all over.