Often, it is impossible to avoid a storm. This week, Richard and I learned that as we hit a killer one during our trip to California. From the west coast, it cut through a wide swatch of middle America with the triple threat of freezing rain, blinding snow and bitter cold. There were only two options – face the storm or wait it out putting our dreams of California on hold.
Decisions like this are never easy. The storms of life cause us to leave our nest of a comfortable spot to face fickle winds. We have a choice – to fly or cling to our frozen, soggy nest.
Tenacity is an important characteristic when we’re asked to alter our course to meet our dreams. It causes you to grow through discomfort towards your passion area. In Oklahoma, we faced closed roads, treacherous, ice-covered open ones and downed power lines. Literally we were left to our own devices amidst the blackness of an unlit prairie night. We certainly didn’t feel like we were soaring like eagles (Isaiah 40:31), yet we also knew that God has not abandoned us, either (Deut 31:6 and others).
I sometimes feel as if God sends storms as a way to push up beyond where we’d push ourselves. That’s the only place we see results. The Holy Spirit leads us through the tempest; by the process, we become more refined.
Nervously driving through that awful Oklahoma night, I experienced the sovereignty of God in a way that I never thought possible. He controlled the ice, the snow, the temperature and all I could do is revel or curse in His power. That night in the car, these stirring words of Amy Carmichael comforted me, “Joys are always on their way to us. They are always traveling through the darkness of night. There is never a night when they are not coming.”
When my journey isn’t happening to my satisfaction, I stop, wait and consider. Am I learning contentment, tenacity or patience? Am I resting in the fact that God has me on a vastly different journey that anyone else? And most importantly, is there rejoicing in the sovereignty of God to use the storms of life to refine me?