Oct 30

Tree Limbs & Stormy Assignments

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Image by Jeff Raymond via Sketch Guru

The winds howled and rain fell, and our young children huddled with us on our bedroom floor when they should have been deep in sleep. Frightened by bright lightning flashes and deafening thunder, we sought to assure our kids they would be okay. Yet as our bedroom bay window was pelted in a way I hadn’t heard before, I hoped that this intense storm wouldn’t bring us any harm.

The next morning after our interrupted sleep, the city awoke to trees limbs down and fences blown over. In fact, two weeks later, it’s still the same. Down the street, a large old oak still lies on it’s side.  Around neighborhoods, rare glimpses can be seen into back yard as sections of fence are still missing. The wind storm was big enough to leave it’s mark, and clean up is still occurring.  The effects linger.

But for the most part, this storm caused external damage and brought manageable disruption into people’s lives.  We only lost a small section of fence and our grill blew over on top of a flower bed. Our grill is fine and the flowers will grow back.

Yet as with the recent floods in Colorado or Alabama’s tornadoes in 2011, there are storms that come at us that aren’t handled with ease.  The inconvenience becomes daily and disruption lingers.

Be it chronic illness, unemployment, or a big financial hole we’ve dug ourselves into, the effects of these storms aren’t easily cleaned up with a chainsaw or new section of fence.  Maybe it’s a lingering heart ache, or unending tension in a relationship that feels like a painful splinter under the skin.  And for whatever reason, the splinter cannot be removed.

My natural inclination is to protest such a disruption to my modern, American life.  My life is full of conveniences that are made to solve problems and make life efficient, more pleasurable and full of ease.  We are in an age of abundant information on how to make just about any part of life work and do what we want it to do.

But this is where the rub comes.  Counter to my intuition of a life-at-ease, God is in the business of willingly allowing storms, sometimes very big ones, to disrupt my life.  Despite my protests, and even how I feel violated, slighted or wronged, God wants to do something in and through the circumstances to do His work in my life.

And in spite of all reasons why I could give God as to why this shouldn’t happen, I think something is finally starting to break through and shift within me.  It’s starting to make sense that disruption is the very thing God uses to shape me.  I’m starting to see that storms are assignments.

They are curriculum God uses in my life to expose my shallow or misplaced faith and lay a deeper foundation of trust.  Storms expose my commitment to ease and myself over my desire to joyful surrender to all that is good about who God is.  They expose lies and agreements I’ve made and rid me of hopes that could never match the kind hope God brings me.

Accepting this does not come easy.  I fight it and something in me resists, but I’m starting to see that maybe God actually is up to something good.  Something that has my best interest in mind, even if it is discovered down the pathway of heartache, chaos and pain.

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  • David Mike

    This reminds me of how God prunes things out of our lives, but in a much larger capacity. It’s strange that we resist surrendering to God’s plan even when we know that he has our best interests in mind. Great post, thanks for sharing your heart and thoughts.