Wednesday, June 23, 2010

We Will Praise You In This Storm, cont'd

Continued from another post- read the first part here.


I laid down on the bathroom floor, staring toward the ceiling in the dark, numb. I felt as if I should cry... but no tears came.

My mom's text: Their house is gone.
I can't even wrap my mind around it. Memories, safety, security- the flew away with the building.

What if we lose them? Are they safe? Injured? I can't stand the thought. I push it out of my mind.

I pray.

I plead.

I struggle.

I want to praise God in this storm. It is a reminder of His mighty power, His strength, and His complete control. We are so obviously utterly helpless, which oddly feels more comfortable than when we are helpless but refuse to admit it.

But words seem so shallow and meaningless at this point. I often hear people talking about praising God through a storm, but what does that look like? I think that, more than pretty words, He wants our sincere trust and resignation to His will. I don't think anyone is grateful to find out they have cancer, or is thrilled to lose their job or, God forbid, a child. If God knows our hearts- and I believe He does- language that reflects the attitude we want to have about a situation is not what He wants to hear.

As I laid there praying, I remembered that this is part of the Holy Spirit's job, according to one of my favorite passages:
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we
ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that
words can not express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of
the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with
God's will." - Romans 8:26-27
You know what? I love this passage. It gives me so much peace to know that I just can't fail at praying. The Holy Spirit guides us, and stands in the gap for us. The only way to fail is to not pray at all. As for praising God in difficult times, I think He wants our sincere love and trust, our awe of His might, our surrender to His will, more than He wants us to pretend we like everything that's happening. After all, He already knows my heart; I can't pretend with God.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

We Will Praise You In This Storm

I am literally in the middle of a storm (on Thursday night). I'm not talking about a metaphorical, blog-type storm, but rather a storm system full of tornadoes. We have been sitting in the basement bathroom of the house we rent, just hanging out. The lights have flickered, but the internet has stayed on the whole time, which is one of those curious modern-day situations I can't quite understand.

This storm has been...well, intense. Usually it seems as if the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning, we all seek shelter, and nothing happens.

But this time is different.

I am not sure of all the facts right now. What I do know is that the radio keeps throwing around phrases like "half-mile wide tornado," and "people trapped in their house," and "warning has been extended."

The house of our dear family friends just flew away- with them underneath it. It's so strange for me to even imagine. All I can think of is the "Wizard of Oz." I was literally at the beach with them this morning. Until I heard that they were safely at my parent's house, all I could wonder was if that was the last time I would see them. There are literally holes in their yard from where trees were just picked up out of the ground. They are rounding up cattle because all of their outbuildings are gone, too.

I think we here death and destruction and disaster sensationalized so much on the news nowadays (I cannot believe I just used that word), that we forget the layers present in ever story, in every number. Each number is a life, full of hopes and dreams and responsibilities and potential. Each life connects to hundreds of other lives. God loves each life each number represents. When tragedy hits home- literally- it challenges you to actually think, to feel, to have compassion for others. In some ways, desensitization may be healthy- imagine if we were overcome with grief every time we heard about something horrible happening. We would hardly be able to function in daily life (as someone who is strongly mercy-oriented, I say this from experience). However, being desensitized to the point of not feeling is pathological.


The National Weather Service tornado warning for our area finally expired. Now it's time for dinner (at 9pm), so this will have to be continued... : )

Friday, June 18, 2010

Is It Just Me?

For some reason, I am a creature of habit. No, really. Like more than is normal. Sure I love to travel and have periodic reprieves from my patterns, but more often than not trying new things is like running anything more than a mile- every. step. takes my full attention. I blame it on my dad; he is the same way- perfectly content to be home, to be surrounded by what he knows. We like the familiar.

But some habits are best broken sooner rather than later. While preparing for our time in Africa, and while later living there, I had no trouble contributing to this blog regularly. It felt necessary. I could pre-empt other activities with no guilt, no feelings of selfishness; despite the fact I enjoyed putting my thoughts into words, I could convince myself that it wasn't for me- it was for a greater purpose.

Now, writing gets pushed to the end of my to-do list, the same list that is never finished. The tasks remaining at the end of the day are transferred to the next day's list, but there is never enough time to complete them. I can't put my finger on it, but there is just something about that fact that seems wrong to me... I just don't think this was what God intended. Our lives are always... unfinished. We forget we are totally complete in Him before we cross a single item off the list.

I have learned so much in these last few months that I want to share. Even if no one ever reads this blog again, I want them written down, even if only so that I don't forget them. But some of these truths are so mammoth and so life-changing and so challenging that I know my limited skill just can't do them justice. I admit I am intimidated, but I need this. I need to conquer this fear of failure and selfishness and insignificance before they take long-term root. This is me, breaking a habit.