Posted by: glorifyhim1 | March 14, 2011

What If….?

Like many this weekend, my eyes were often riveted to the television as I watched incredible videos of the devastation wreaked by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It is literally too much to wrap my mind around. People have been affected in so many unimaginable ways. It is impossible to think about what the people in that country are going through – from the most basic needs of food and water, to indescribable destruction and loss, to the threat of radiation and nuclear meltdown. While trying to cope with any one of these crises would be difficult, it is next to impossible to think of how one can grapple with such a large-scale catastrophe. 

As my heart went out to the many people caught in the horror, I couldn’t help but wonder: What if one of those faces I was watching was actually mine? What if my family were caught in a disaster of this magnitude? What if…? What if…?

What if….? You fill in the spaces. At any time, any one of us could be launched into a situation beyond our ability to understand or fathom. While perhaps not as devastating on a national or international level, situations that affect us individually can propel us personally into our own worlds of loss, despair and hopelessness. None of us are immune to our individual worlds being turned upside down. Yet, even in our time of despair, we can still find hope – because of Jesus!

Mark 4:35-41 recounts a time when Jesus and His disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat when a fierce storm arose. The disciples became frightened, but they found Jesus in the stern, asleep on a pillow. All Jesus had to do was rebuke the wind and tell the sea to be still and all became calm. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. We can’t order the wind and the sea into submission, but God can. We cannot control the various storms in which we may find ourselves, but God can!

Could God have prevented the earthquake and tsunami from occurring? Absolutely! He is God! Why didn’t He? Only He knows. Just as in any natural disaster or human tragedy, we cannot know why God extends His arm to save in one instance and withholds it in another. When a tornado rips through a neighborhood, why is one house ripped from its foundation, and the one next door sits unscathed? The Bible tells us that we can never know or understand the mind of God. “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?’ For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36)

Perhaps the most important thing we can do when we find ourselves in a desperate situation is to turn to God and ask for help instead of asking why. We take all of our hurt, disappointment, loss, whatever we’re going through and lay it at the feet of Jesus. This act of submission to His authority in our lives is a huge step of faith. We acknowledge that although we may not understand, we believe in Him and we’re going to trust and rely on Him to walk with us through the hurt and agony as He restores and heals us.

Not only is this a big step of faith, it is also a big step in humility. Like Job and his friends discovered, who are we to question God’s ways (see Job 38-41). As Job replied to God, “I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:3). When things in our world seem out of control, we need to recognize that God is sovereign over all of Creation. We relinquish ourselves to Him and submit to His will and way.

As we turn to God in faith and humility, we will find a Helper. “Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8). Not only will God provide help for our immediate situation, but He knows where we’re headed even when we don’t. He knows His plans not only for us, but also for His entire creation. Who could give us better direction than the One who created and is sovereign over all?

Not only does God help us in our troubles, but when we seek and yield to Him, He also works in us and through us to accomplish His purposes. Sometimes, the troubles that come our way are not the result of natural disasters, but are consequences of our own poor choices. Even when our suffering is the direct result of sin, if we turn to God He will offer us forgiveness and renewal. At other times, God allows testing and trial in our lives in order that He may grow us and make us more Christ-like. Then we, in turn, can point others to Jesus. In addition, God can use us to impact others through the lessons we learn in our storms. Whole ministries are sometimes the direct result of storms that someone walked through. Some storms we face, however, we will never know this side of eternity the reason why. Yet we can be confident that the suffering we endure on earth cannot compare to the glory we will one day know. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

Psalm 107:29 states: “He calms the storm, so that its waves are still.” God is able. He can both calm our storms and He can calm us in the midst of our storms. When we keep our eyes on Him, He can help us through our troubles, one step at a time.

 

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountain shake with its swelling. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge”

(Psalm 46:1-3,7).

 

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