I've been wanting to write a blog entry on storms for some time now. And it's no wonder. Where I live, in the DFW area, we've had a lot of rain. But I've had serious writer's block on this particular subject, and I'll tell you why. It's because I don't feel qualified. I've had my share of storms, who hasn't? But recently, I've watched some of my friends endure storms....storms that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
My sister in-law was overjoyed when she found out she was pregnant. She and her husband have three beautiful boys, and they wanted to try for that girl just one more time. She would be equally delighted, though, if God blessed her with another baby boy. A healthy baby was their top concern. She works at an OBGYN's office in Dallas. How lucky to be able to get a sonogram anytime you want and see that precious little soul wiggling around! The nurse had an appointment cancel, and called Karen (name is changed) back to see if they could figure out the sex. She looked...and looked.....and looked. No heartbeat. Instead, heartache. Grief. Loss.
A friend of mine was stunned....just stunned....when the diagnosis came back. Colon cancer. And it had spread to her lungs. And she has no insurance. Instead of baseball with her two little boys, she's lying in a hospital bed hooked up to countless machines, so tired she can barely lift her head. Instead of saving for her children's college education, she's watching their meager savings disappear before her eyes.
I have no idea how they feel. I can sympathize all day, but any words I offer sound hollow in my own ears. So....I do the only thing I know how to do. I try to do what God is already doing. I walk with them. I listen to them. I cry for them and with them. I pray for them and with them. My own sweet sister recently had a miscarriage scare. She had found out she was pregnant about two weeks before she was to leave for Italy. Anxious to see the doctor before she left the country, she scheduled an appointment....even though she was only about six weeks along. When she got there....no heartbeat. I talked to my sister on the phone immediately after she left the doctor's office. My heart broke in two as she cried and told me, "Rebecca, I don't even know what to pray." I've never had a miscarriage, but I have been so sad and broken that I couldn't even find words for my Savior.
This bible passage brings comfort to me. Romans 8:26, And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don't even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. That almost moves me to tears. Can you picture it? Jesus, the Son of God, who endured every temptation but lived a sinless life. Who died, hanging on a cross...nails piercing his hands and feet. Mourning with us. Praying for us....with such passion that it can not be expressed in words. Friends, that is the truth. If you don't believe me, just look at John, Chapter 11.
In this chapter, Lazarus (brother to Mary and Martha, and a dear friend of Jesus') has died, so Mary and Martha send for their Lord. By the time Jesus gets there, it has been several days. As soon as Mary sees Him, John 11:32 tells us "she fell down at His feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Let's pick it up at verse 33. "When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, He was moved with indignation and was deeply troubled. 'Where have you put him?' he asked them. They told Him, 'Lord, come and see.' Then Jesus wept." Are those not some of the most precious words in the bible? Jesus wept. He didn't just swallow the lump in his throat....or wipe a few tears away. Jesus WEPT. And I have to tell you....He wasn't weeping for Lazerus. He knew what He was about to do. He was about bring Lazerus back from the grave. No....Jesus wept for Mary, for Martha, and for all of those who loved Lazerus.
Isn't awesome, that our Savior is so compassionate and loves us so much, that He weeps with us? Even when He already knows the outcome of our storm, He weeps with us. Let's go back to Romans...take a look at Chapter 8, verses 27-28. We'll pick up right where we left off, right after we read how the Holy Spirit prays for us with "groanings that cannot be expressed in words." "And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will." Now pay attention.....you don't want to miss this part - "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Did you catch that? God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God! There is NOTHING....no storm....too great for God! There is not ONE SINGLE situation that He can't turn around and use for His good purpose.
Take Nancy's story. Growing up, she and her sister Suzy were as close as two peas in a pod. When the two girls went off to college, they spoke every day on the phone. Nancy was the maid of honor when her sister married her college sweetheart. Imagine the storm clouds gathering when Nancy answered the phone and got the news...Suzy had breast cancer. Imagine the winds of doubt, the thundering fear, and the anguish pouring down when they found out Suzy would not live. Friends...have you ever heard of the Susan G. Komen foundation?
God can use any situation to work for the good of those who love God...and are called according to His purpose. Who is called? You are. Isaiah 43: 1-3, "But now, O Israel, the LORD who created you says: 'Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you."
He has called you by name...you are His. When you go through deep waters and great difficulty, He will be with you. We know the forecast calls for rain. We know there are deep waters and great troubles ahead. We don't know exactly what the outcome will be. But we do know this....we are not alone. He is with us. We will not drown....and the flames will not consume us. God bless you and keep you, and I pray that everyone who reads this will find their way safely through the storms of life....holding tightly to our Lord's hand.
And by the way, Karen is now 2 weeks out from giving birth to her 4th child...a baby girl! And this baby was a complete and total surprise. It took fertility drugs to get pregnant with her first three children...but not this time. And more good news....my sister is thankful for each day of morning sickness that she's going through right now, because it just confirms what the doctor told her as soon as she got back from Italy. She IS pregnant, and the heartbeat is strong! Hallelujah! My friend, however, could use your prayers. She is currently still undergoing chemo, but is very happy to see the tumors shrinking.