Storm watching is fascinating—at least from the comfort of our safe, cozy homes. I rather enjoy taking in a lightning show streaking across the sky, but I’ve never really understood those somewhat crazy enthusiasts who charge right out there to get a front-row view of a twister. Storms happen. Sometimes we are mere bystanders and sometimes we choose to get up close and personal. Not because we are crazy enthusiasts. But because of LOVE…
I’ve never actually been out in a boat on stormy seas, clutching to a mast for dear life, wondering if I would survive. Actually, that sort of happened one time on the lake. In a catamaran. When the kids were young and vulnerable. And we didn’t realize our friends on the shore were wildly gesturing for us to come in from the path of the storm… in our naivety, we simply waved back. Oh, that day really didn’t end well. Yay for sweet family memories!
But figuratively, I think we can all identify with the storms of life, right? Most of us have experienced a season where we have been battered and bruised and maybe almost ship-wrecked. In hindsight, it’s an opportunity for growth, yet at the time, it sucks. But as Charles Spurgeon puts it rather more eloquently:
“I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary.”
Even today, you can probably pinpoint several loved ones or acquaintances who are in the thick of it… sickness, heartache, broken relationships, grief—I know this past month or so has been brutal for several of our friends. I may not be in that sinking boat on the perilous waters myself, but I’m definitely right there on the shore—watching, praying, hoping, loving.
“Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
That “law of Christ” is the law of love. We are called to love one another and sometimes that means carrying each other’s worries and fears and pain. How do we even attempt to do that when we are merely storm watching from the shore? When we can’t get close to those dear ones being battered by the elements? It is truly heartbreaking and sometimes utterly frustrating. But we stand firm, hoping for a miracle, hands clasped, praying fervently, believing, simply being there where they can see we care deeply. It doesn’t take a degree or specialized training, friends, it merely requires us to LOVE.
A willing heart, an attitude of humility, our time and attention—this is how we show we love and we care and we help carry. It’s a beautiful thing. And when WE are in that boat, we truly appreciate those “shore people” who are there for us, watching over us.
Thankfully, in the eye of the storm, God is our constant. He’s our Rock, Shelter, and Shield… He is also our Joy, Light, and Strength. He’s there in our darkest moments and He’s still there when the sun breaks through.
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” Psalm 57:1
May the preciousness and fragility of life not be lost on us. Storms rage on. But there are also periods of crystal clear, cool, calm waters, and we certainly need those delicious seasons of respite. Embrace those times to build up, enjoy, and grow strong:
“When the storms of life come, if they come to me personally, to my family or to the world, I want to be strong enough to stand and be a strength to somebody else, be shelter for somebody else.” Anne Graham Lotz
Let us be prepared to wade into the water wearing our wellies and carrying a plate of cookies or a lasagna to those friends weak and pummeled in the boat. Or let’s even be ready to dive in headfirst and help to hold them above water as the waves hit hard.
Watch and pray through the storms. Carry each other’s burdens. Love one another…
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