I remember one summer night when I couldn’t sleep. Everyone else was in bed and I was looking out my bedroom window because a spectacular storm was going on outside. The lightning was flashing across the sky and rain was falling in sheets. What was keeping me awake though wasn’t what was going on outside but was within me. I was struggling with a deep and challenging storm in my life that felt hopeless and unending. I had spent a lot of time in prayer asking God to deliver me, but I had not heard a response yet and felt alone. As I stared out the window at a tree in my front yard with its branches blowing in the wind, I desperately asked God to strike the tree with lightning to show me that he was there with me and could see my struggle. It was a question asked out of weakness, from being overcome with emotion.
It is easy to feel the presence of the Lord when life is going well, but when we are going through a storm, it is often hard to remember that Jesus is still with us. In Mark 9, a man desperately asks Jesus if He can do something to save his son. Jesus responds with “If?” The man then realizes his lack of faith and in Mark 9:24 NIV says “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” That summer night I gave into fear and like the man in the story, began asking God to show up (even though He was already there). Instead, I should have been praying “Oh God, help me in my unbelief. I know the truth but I am weak. Please give me patience to wait, listen, and trust that You will carry me through this storm. Help me to be still.’
Obviously, God did not strike down that tree with lightning, but looking back on that night in hindsight, it is easy to see that God was working in my life at the time. In fact, the events of that summer have strengthened my faith and have acted as a testimony to God’s power. Exodus 14:14 NIV says “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” and Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV states that “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” I know He was there and had a plan. The tree now helps me to remember that I need to trust God and hold onto His truth next time a storm comes.
In Christ alone,
Photo Credit: my own photo