Before church this morning, I prayed "Lord speak to me today. Encourage my heart."
I love our church and just being there is encouraging to me. I love the people in our Sunday School class (aka Connecting Points Class) and the women I'm in Women's Ministry with. Seeing familiar faces as I walk down the hall blesses me as we connect with a word of greeting or a smile or a hug. This is my family and I am at home here.
As I sat in worship, our worship leader, Hank, took a moment to share a thought that God had planted in his heart just for me. Hank is a pilot. He shared that pilots gauge their day by the weather. Pretty, sunny days mean great flying. Gray, overcast days mean low ceiling and they are limited in what they can do. He said as a young pilot he would always be disgruntled when the cloudy, rainy days hindered his plans for flying. But as he matured, he realized that it was not all about the fun things you could do on the sunny days. That gray skies are as much a part of life as sunny days and that it was actually on those dismal days that his skills as a pilot were honed and perfected.
How like our lives. Who doesn't prefer the sunny days? I happen to be "solar energized" and too many days of rain and gray skies really get me down. In life, I too do not like the "storms". I prefer the happy days to the gray days of worry, anxiety, hurt and discouragement. I do not like conflict. I tend to be more like Joan Rivers..."can't we all just get along?"
I think of some of the happiest days in my life and often wish that every day could be just that happy. But, that is wishful thinking. Jesus told us, "In this life you WILL have tribulation. But, be of good cheer for I have overcome the world!" John 17: 33
I realized as Hank spoke that though we have those gray days, God is IN those days just as He is IN the sunny days. And, just as when we fly, we can rise above the clouds to the sunshine of His love, His peace, and His comfort. We must look past the clouds to the SON who wants to shine through the clouds and warm our hearts. The earlier part of John 17:33 says "These things have I spoken unto you, that IN ME you might have peace."
But, God was not finished speaking to me. In the message which was given today by one of our elders, David Olford shared that as a young 8 year old boy he went to the beach with some friends. He was led way into the water by the man whom he was with. Suddenly a huge wave engulfed him. He was thrown up and down in the water and remembered thinking, "OK God, if this is it, I'm coming to you!" Having had a similar experience some years ago, I totally related to his dilemma. Just when he thought it was all over, his head bobbed up and he realized that the gentleman he was with had hold of his arm. He had never let go! He had held on to David the entire time he was churning in that wave, yet he was so overwhelmed he didn't realize it.
Sometimes life crashes in on us in wave after wave til we think we cannot hold on any longer. We feel helpless and nearly overtaken by our circumstances. What we need to remember is that God is holding on to us by His mighty right hand. He will not let go no matter what!!!!!!!!!!
"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage, neither be thou dismayed. For the Lord THY God is with thee wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
"I will be with you. I will not fail you nor forsake you." Joshua 1: 5
"Fear not for I am with thee; be not dismayed for I am THY God; I will strenthen thee, yea I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness....for I the Lord THY God will hold your right hand saying unto thee, Fear Not I will help thee." Isaiah 41: 10, 13
Today, though your clouds may be gray and your life may be churning, look THROUGH the clouds and realize that God is there. You are not alone. He is holding you by His mighty right hand. He will see you through. The sun will shine again. Seek Him today. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in the midst of your storm. He will. He loves you and wants you to know that He is there.
God has not promised
Skies always blue
Flower strewn pathways
All our lives through
God has not promised
Sun without rain
Joy without sorrow
Peace without pain.
But God has promised
Strength for the day
Rest for the labor
Light for the way
Grace for the trials
Help from above
--Annie Johnson Flint (1866-1932)