Monday, August 18, 2014

Where is Your Storm Shelter?

Can I sit with YOU?
Thunderstorms  can be frightening, especially if you are a little doggie.  (His uncle Randy calls him “Scaredy Dog”, but we don’t use words like that.)  

For our little twenty one pound of cuteness wrapped in a Schnauzer suit, they are enough to cause the leg trembling, wide eyed, hunker down in a safe spot and whimper kind of terror.  

We had a pretty hefty thunderstorm today, and this is the result - him between my feet.  This is his safe spot.  He knows if there is protection anywhere, he will find it with us so he hides for cover under or between us and thus endures the storm.  Smokey has learned to trust us.  He comes to us when he is afraid, knowing he can not endure it alone, and knowing without a doubt that we will see him through it.  We can’t make the storm go away, but we remain with him, going through the storm together, and covering him until his fear is gone.

When we are tossed into the storms of life, where can we go and what can we do?  
There is One who can cover us.  
There is One Who loves us and abides with us.  
There is One Who will never leave us or forsake us.   
He will be with us through the storm.  

In James chapter 1, we are told that these testing storms produce endurance.  I have experienced that. You have probably have too; surviving/enduring something that was excruciating, but you came through it, you endured. Having gone through it we know that we can survive a situation like that.  It gives us confidence that He will go through the storms with us.  It builds our faith.  It helps us trust Him more.

A closer look at the word “endurance” as used here in James, it gives an even more beautiful picture.  Hupomeno is the Greek word transliterated “endurance”.   It isn’t Hupophero which is also transliterated “endure” but means to bear up by lifting a thing we carry on our shoulders.   Rather, Hupomeno is more like an umbrella, a covering from God that gives us a place to abide to endure the trial.   

Hupomeno is used eleven times in the New Testament as; endure, take patiently, tarry behind, abide, patient and suffer.  Now, those aren’t words (especially the “s” word) we like to use describing our days or lives; we generally like “fun, happy, and carefree” much better.  Why then does He allow us to go through many trials?  

Let’s look at the text (because the Bible is the Book of answers). He allows this testing of our faith to develop endurance in us.  We don't need to fall apart in hard times.  He expects us to continue to gain trust in Him and learn to rely upon Him.  

He even tells us to consider it JOY when these trials come to us.  How can we possibly call it “joy” when it hurts so very much? Because it draws us closer to Him, teaching us over and over that He is worthy of our trust.  As Smokey has learned to come to us when he is afraid, we are to go to Him.  

He contrasts our steady, strong faith with those who doubt in the next few verses of that same chapter.  The doubters are tossed about by the wind, like the surf on the sea.  What a difference between being held securely in the middle of turbulence, and being driven and tossed about by any and every wind that comes along.  

When you go through tough times, you can remain calm and endure bravely not because of your strong character, but because you know the One Who holds you is worthy of your trust.   The storm will pass.  You will be made stronger because of it.

I pray today that you and I will go through the rough times of life holding fast to the One Who loves us and can preserve us.  I pray that we will continually abide in Him, without fear, and continually grow in our faith.   

Got to go, I hear more thunder and “you know who” is tiptoeing around the corner, looking for a security lap.  I do love hearing your stories of faith, perseverance and provision from God Almighty.  Please share your story with us here!  We all need a little encouragement now and then.

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For more stories of faith including a hummingbird I named Oscar, read first chapter here