Sunday, May 7, 2017

Devotion 5.8.17

Have you ever been in a storm?  Not a thunderstorm on a lazy afternoon kind of storm, but rather a hurricane kind of storm.  Driving wind, rain, small tornadoes that drop as the hurricane moves onto land.  Living on the coast, I had the privilege of "riding out" many hurricanes, but I have to confess we rode out all of them on the land.  One summer I was working on the port and a hurricane was bearing down on us, looking as though it would make a direct hit on Houston.  The day before the hurricane was "hurricane prep:"  anchoring down cranes, anchoring any item that was small or light enough to be tossed about in the 70+ mile per hour winds predicted (or higher), storing items, and cabling off barges, tug boats, and a few yachts that had pulled up that belonged to the "higher ups" at Brown and Root.

I am guessing that a storm at sea of that level would be "harrowing."  Harrowing is a step beyond "frightening" in my mind as it expresses fear, exacerbation and lament.  As Gordon Lightfoot wrote in his song "Edmund Fitzgerald," a song about an iron ore ship that sank on Lake Superior, "Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?"  That kind of fear caused by gales which are lore to the sea veterans on Lake Superior in November.

Psalm 107 speaks of this very fear and was used during the Men's Retreat recently, as we spoke of the means that God uses to create a right attitude in those who profess faith:

"Some went down to the sea in ships,
    doing business on the great waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
    his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
    which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
    their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men
    and were at their wits' end.]
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!"

Waves high enough to reach the heavens and then take you down to the depths of the sea, melting your courage away until you remember to turn to God.  God shapes us to be His disciples through a variety of methods, but that shaping creates that attitude within us to say, "Thy will be done."  Not, "Thy will be done, mostly," or "Thy will be done, almost all the way, but I have room for my own interpretation," but rather, "Thy will be done."

Jesus sleeps during a storm that has arisen on a voyage across the sea with his disciples, and they melt in fear until He awakens and commands the storm to be quiet (Mark 4).  What storms is God using in my life to turn me to Him?  What storms is He using in yours?  This shaping turns us to Christ who is there to quiet the storms in our lives.  Pray we turn to Christ in the calm as well as in the storm to seek His guidance to calm our storms and relieve our fears.

Hope Men's Ministry

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