Don't you just love a thunderous summer storm? The kind that blackens the sky, rattles the windows and causes equal parts of excitement and terror within.
If you are somewhere safe with loved ones and your house is secure, then a summer storm is quite exciting, and can appear to end as quickly as it started. Yet if you are caught out-and-about, or your house isn't storm-ready and you are alone, it can cause stress and worry and it can feel like forever until the storm passes.
Here in Queensland, we get quite a few storms over the summer period and we have already had a couple of big ones. Where I live, I am surrounded by trees, and during one particular storm I was struck with how sturdy and almost elastic they seemed to be.
It was incredibly windy and I observed how the trees swayed from side to side and were being tussled around and even though they looked ready to snap, they stood their ground and didn't break.
"When the roots are deep, there is no reason to fear the wind"
I read the above quote a while ago but it came to mind as I was observing a particular tree.
Storms are a part of life. It clearly says in the Bible that we will face trials.
Jesus says in John chapter 16, verse 33:
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
If our roots are deep in Him, we do not need to worry about what storm may be ahead; no matter how much we get tossed around, we will not break.
"Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness."
Some storms seem to come out of the blue and strike without warning, hitting us hard, leaving us baffled and confused, and requiring us to clean up the "debris".
This could take the form of receiving a serious health diagnosis, death of a loved one, loss of income, or another traumatic event. All these situations are incredibly difficult to face, yet with Him we can get through them.
For other storms you might get a little bit of warning and therefore be more prepared.
Maybe someone has been sick for quite a while and therefore you can be more prepared for their passing.
However, no matter the storm, whether fast and furious or slow and steady, even if it feels like forever, thankfully, the storm will eventually pass.
Preparing for the Storms of Life
Lately I've been seeing articles in various newspapers and magazines about how to storm-proof your house as to minimise any possible damage during the summer storm season. Things like ensuring power lines are clear of branches, gutters are not blocked, stocking up on water and tinned food and having candles at the ready.
So that got me thinking, is it possible to be prepared for the personal storms that may come?
To ensure our roots go deep in Him, I think we need to spend time with Him. I believe this then naturally leads to an active prayer life and learning how to be more like Him. Do our thoughts align with His?
I also think we can learn from others as well, people who have weathered a few storms and are still standing strong in their faith.
So what happens after we've been hit by a storm? A really big, ferocious one? The temptation to walk away from God is definitely there, I know for me it has been.
To be angry, disappointed, filled with anxiety, grumble and complain, be filled with self-pity and self-reliance, consumed with guilt or shame.
But God calls us to remain faithful, to come to Him, to trust Him, to give mercy, to choose to look to God and allow the trial to work godliness in us.
I like to think I would be one of the trees that still stands after a storm has hit. Thankfully, even if I do break, I know He will restore me if I go to him and find shelter under His wings.
Jo Fuller is a primary school teacher with degrees in journalism and education. She currently lives on the Sunshine Coast with her husband and young son.
Jo Fuller's archive of articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jo-fuller.html