Sailing in the Storm

Have you ever been just bone tired? I am sure you have. Do you remember the feeling? Bone tired gets a bit different the older you get. A bone tired twenty something really has nothing to complain about. Bone tired at forty something is a different thing entirely. When you are my age, exhaustion messes with your ability to make good sense.

Matthew and I are in the throws of remodeling our “new” house. Matthew is quite handy, and I am a pretty darn good assistant. Yet we both notice that the later in the night it gets, and the more tired we get, the less able we are at making sound decisions. It’s neck and neck really, but our minds give up a little before our bodies. At that point, it’s time to call it a night.

We are up against the clock right now. Even as I type this I am stressing out. Monday morning, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, the sheetrock men are coming to the house to put back together that which we have torn apart. That’s good news. The bad news is we are not ready for them to come yet. There are holes to cut in the floor, more holes to cut in vent tubing, insulation to hang, some rewiring to do, and a design feat of miraculous proportions in figuring out how to frame for the ceiling in our basement. Once that decision is made, it must be accomplished… all before Monday morning.

Ever bite off more than you can chew? It’s unpleasant. So is this mess we are in. As in all home improvement projects, one improvement almost without fail, leads to one more. For in tearing down one wall, you find something unexpected back there… and cha-ching you have your next issue to deal with…. And so on.

Fortunately there is a light at the end of the tunnel. By hook or by crook, we gotta finish this mess by mid April. We can endure anything for three more weeks, right?

It’s when the messes we find ourselves in have no end in sight that we really start to go bonkers. We can go right off the deep end when we see no resolution to our problems. We just want to wave the white flag of surrender and throw in the towel. Unfortunately, some have done this quite literally.

Alas, we are not promised a life of bliss as followers of Christ. On the contrary, the Bible promises that we will have trouble. How about that for an encouraging verse, eh? Yet even with that promise, we are surprised, offended even, should trouble come knocking on our door interrupting our nicely planned out lives.

Our response when trouble comes is the key.

Whether we can see an end to our issues or even if there is no end in sight, our response makes all the difference. Once, several years ago, my husband was on staff at a church with some frustrating issues. Oh, you know that church?? On a particularly trying day, I sent an email to another staff member asking how we were supposed to survive on such tumultuous waters. I won’t forget his response. He told me, in the storms of life, we need to simply put our sails up and ride the waves out. That God is doing something and it’s exciting to see what it is.

I am quite fond of Andrew Peterson’s latest song. The first line is, “Well I was 19, you were 21… The year we got engaged.” I like it because it sounds like Matthew and me. While this is a song of marriage and the commitment involved there are a couple of lines that speak to how we should handle life’s unpleasantness…es. “And we’re dancing in the minefields…We’re sailing in the storms”

Who dances in minefields? Grab a mental picture of that. Who sails during a storm? When I heard this, I was taken back to what my friend had told me years ago.

Our response to trials that come is the key.

First we must expect trouble to come, because if it hasn’t knocked on your door lately, it will. (Aren’t you just so encouraged?) When it does knock, we have to answer the door with the full armor of God on because then we are prepared to meet it. We knew it was coming, so we are prepared. We don’t get caught with our pants down if we are expecting something to happen.

And then we cling with all our might to the promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. Truth is, the verse that tells us to expect trouble also tells us to expect something else…

John 16:33  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Whatever our troubles are, however desperate we may feel, we must continue to place our hope and trust in the one who has overcome the troubles of this world. It’s when we are bone tired, mentally and physically, that He’s just getting started…

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