Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Word: Storms of this Life

Have you ever been overwhelmed with terror or trouble to the point that you just wanted to fly away?  To go somewhere far away?  To find a refuge?  Has your heart ever hurt that much?

I think most of us can relate to that in one way or another.  After all, life is tough.  David, a man after God's own heart, knew that from personal experience:

Psalm 55:4-8
My heart is in anguish within me,
And the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
And [a]horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and [b]be at rest.
“Behold, I would wander far away,
I would lodge in the wilderness. [c]Selah.
“I would hasten to my place of refuge
From the stormy wind and tempest.”

The first thing we can see from this is that troubles will come and our faith will waver.  David is the very same man who killed a giant with just a slingshot and a stone and SO much more.  Yet, we see his heart here and it is without a doubt that troubles have come up against him for "no man ever describe a wounded heart like David" (Clarke).  And it is quite clear his faith is wavering, if only minutely.  You see, "Sometimes David's faith made him, in a manner, fearless...But at other times his fears prevail...for the best of men are not always alike strong in faith" (Henry).  None of us, not the best of us, are immune from troubles or wavering faith.  

When those troubles come, David gives a great example of where we should first turn.  This Psalm begins with a plea to God: "Give ear to my prayer, O God; And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.  Give heed to me and answer me..." (Psalm 55:1-2a).  Even though he feels alone and without refuge, it is good that David knew where to make his plea - " is well when a troubled heart can raise itself above the sea of troubles to stretch a hand towards God" (Expositor's).  Though his faith my waver, he is still centered on the firm foundation of God.

But why do we face these storms to begin with?  Why do troubles have to come?  I don't believe there is a one-size-fits-all answer for that question.  And it is one I still struggle with from time to time.  But storms in this life remind us that this world is not our home.  We are a part of something bigger and, oh, so very much better!  When our hearts are hurting as David's did here - we often long for an escape from this world, for a refuge like none other.  And we have that because we have Christ.  It makes sense that "peace and quietness in silence and solitude are what the wisest and best of men have most earnestly coveted...Gracious souls wish to retire from the hurry and bustle of this world, that they may sweetly enjoy God and themselves...This makes death desirable to a child of God, that it is a final escape from all the storms and tempests of this world to perfect and everlasting rest" (Henry).  

I don't think God wants us to be comfortable here, which is why He may allow us to go through such storms, to ache with a longing for escape.  We cannot expect perfection of our lives or of our circumstances until the day He returns.  That doesn't mean we shouldn't be happy - we should!  We have been given much!   We just need to remember where our heart and souls belong - where our refuge actually is - in Christ.  And one day we will be with Him eternally - no more storms or diseases or family troubles or financial burdens or [whatever you want to insert here].  

Hold onto that truth today.  No matter what you are facing, no matter how badly your heart is hurting, God IS your refuge!  He may not save you from all of the storms of this life, but He will never make you face them alone.  

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