Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What I Learned (and continue to learn) From Storms

This spring has been one of the rainiest, stormiest springs that I can remember. And all the rolling thunder and flashes of lightning has brought back a lot of childhood memories. See, when I was a kid I hated storms. I would burrow under my blankets, no matter how hot it was—apparently, in my childhood mind 1/16 of an inch of cotton would protect me. Our house had those old single pane windows that would rattle at the slightest rumble of thunder. So I’d lay under my blankets until a really loud clap of thunder shook the whole house. You know the kind that you kind of feel in the moment just before it hits? Well when it hit I would set an Olympic record for Fastest Indoor Sprint to Mom & Dad’s Room. Thankfully I grew out of that fear. But thinking back on those days has caused me to realize that I learned some valuable lessons from the storms.
First, I learned that my parents loved me. When I would make a mad dash for Mom & Dad’s room it was because I was afraid. Mom & Dad knew this and they would encourage me that it was only thunder, there was nothing to be afraid of. They’d reassure me that everything was going to be OK. And they were right. Storms weren’t the only way way I learned that my parents loved me, but they were certainly one way I did.
On the other side of that coin, I learned that while my parents loved me, my parents wanted me to grow up. I suppose it would sound nicer if I said “mature” instead of “grow up” but the idea is the same. They were loving & encouraging but there were also times when they would lovingly & encouragingly tell me to get my tail back into bed and quit waking them up. Why would they do that? Simple. You can’t spend your life running from your fears. They wanted me to mature and be able to face my fears. And the only way to learn to face your fears is to face your fears. Storms weren’t the only way I learned that my parents wanted me to mature, but they were certainly one way.
I also learned that I can trust my parents. There were times when they’d let me stay in their room for a while & there were times when they’d kick my tail back to my room. But there were a few times when the storms got really bad. And what I remember is that when it got really bad I never had to run to them. When it got really bad they came & got me. We'd all pile into the closet and hide under pillows and wait for the storm to pass. I remember one time in particular when I knew it was really bad. Mom & Dad got us and piled us into the closet, even though that's where they had hidden our Christmas presents Santa had stored our presents. And that year Santa had brought me a GI Joe Phantom X-19. If you know what that is, congratulations, your childhood was as awesome as mine. If you don't, google it because it was an incredible gift for a little boy. That night, when they came and got my brother and I, I learned that when I needed their protection most I’d always have it. Storms weren’t the only way I learned to trust my parents, but they were certainly one way. 
Finally, I learned lessons for others. What I mean is that the lessons I learned weren’t just lessons for me to take to heart. They were lessons that I could share with others. I find myself reassuring my kids the same way Mom & Dad reassured me. I find myself kicking my kids out of my room the way Mom & Dad did me. Storms taught me that the lessons we learn in life aren’t just for us. They’re for us to help others.
Now what’s the point of all this? Simply this-the storms we face in life aren’t always physical storms are they? We face storms of doubt, heartbreak, fear, disappointment and a thousand other things. But just as I learned from these physical storms, I can learn from the storms of life as well. Storms teach me that I have a Father in heaven who loves me. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus bids us come to Him with the burdens of our lives, to lay them at His feet and let Him take care of them. God loves us-so much so that He was willing to pay any cost to redeem us back to Himself. Though we’re tempted to believe that storms are proof that God doesn’t love us or is angry with us, the fact is that God uses the storms in our lives to remind us of His great love for us. God also uses storms to teach us that God wants us to mature in our faith. The only way to grow in our faith is to be put in a situation where we must use our faith. In Mark 4, when the disciples were caught n a storm & had to wake Jesus up what did He say to them? “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” In other words, the storm was an opportunity for them to flex their spiritual muscles, as it were, to exercise their faith. That’s still the case for us. God uses storms to teach us that we can trust Him. In Psalm 46:1 we read, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Just as my parents would come & get me when it got really bad, God will come & get us when we need Him. There are times when He leaves us to face the storm, seemingly all alone, in order to strengthen our faith. But He will never let us fall. He comes to our rescue, always just when we need Him, and protects us through the storm. Finally, God uses storms to teach us lessons for others. God will show us truths about Himself not just for our benefit but for the benefit of others. We can encourage others through their storms with lessons God has taught us. Maybe God taught you about His faithfulness so you can hold up someone who’s afraid they’re about to fall. Maybe God strengthened you through the storm so that you can strengthen others through the storms they face.
Storms aren’t the only way God teaches us-but they are certainly one way that He does. I pray that God will continue to teach me about His greatness through the storms of life. And that I'll learn to rest in His perfect protection.

No comments:

Post a Comment