Hey, everyone!! Happy Saturday! I hope you're all having an awesome day, enjoying the presence of God wherever you are and resting in the knowledge that He loves you today. Hallelujah!! :)
Before I dive in, I have to share a huge praise! The books finally arrived stateside from China!! Yay! hahaha! I'm doing a book signing at a retail trade show this week, and we weren't sure if they were going to make it in time. But hallelujah! They are here! We won't be at a book signing without books. haha! :) Thank You, Lord. :) I was all prepared to sign copies of STV magazine, though. Those are equally as fun. :)
Okay, on to the lesson of the day. :) This one comes from the road. (As do many in my life. Thank God for running!)
So, Thursday, my running buddy Michelle and I went out for a quick 7-miler on our normal route. Now, I always check the weather before I go out just to make sure I know what I'm in for (heat, wind, etc.). Well, on this particular morning, I was watching good ol' Brett Anthony offer the details of the radar map on NBC Action News, and he was showing a few green and yellow rain storms in the area. "Green and yellow? We can handle that, no problem. Soak me, Lord! I'm ready for a rain run!" Well, little did I know that those little yellow blotches were blooming into red ones as I headed out the door.
Now, Michelle and I are pretty hard-core. We will run in just about any kind of weather. Extreme cold, heat, wind, rain, snow, whatever. To me, the point of running is not to go out when I "feel" like it or when conditions are ideal. That's not why God has given me this gift. He has allowed me the ability and passion to run so that I will grow closer to Him through whatever circumstances He sees necessary. And He always teaches me new things when He asks me to power through tough weather.
Anyway, I digress.
So, Michelle and I head out and it's sprinkling. No big deal. Actually feels awesome. We get about 2 miles in, and we start to see flashes of lightening. Okay, time-out. Just about the only weather condition we do NOT do is lightening. That's just unsafe. But these are flashes, not strikes, so we assure each other that we're okay.
Then, about a mile later, the rain starts to come down harder. We're still okay, but the clouds are looking ominous, and the thunder is rolling. Our conversation now is totally about assuring each other that we'll be okay--that we'll beat it home.
Well, we were wrong. Soon, we start seeing a few lightening strikes, and we know we're in trouble, so we pick up our pace. About 2.5 miles from home, everything starts to fall apart. The wind kicks up instantly, the rain starts to pound us in sheets, the thunder goes constant, and the lightening strikes are hitting around us. Yikes.
We pick up our pace even more and just focus on getting to safety. Michelle's husband had been aware that she'd gone out, and she tells me that she is pretty sure he will come find us. But no sign of him anywhere.
We continue on, encouraging each other and, all the while, looking for our rescue. The wind is up, the rain is down, and we are scared. What are we going to do? Just pray! "Lord, protect us," I say out loud. (Inside, of course, I'm praying constantly.)
Well, when everything seems to be at its worst and we see no way out other than to keep going, we see a van pull up next to us. PRAISE GOD! It's Michelle's husband! We dive into the van and let him carry us to safety. We're soaked to the bone, cold and tired, but we survived. And we were rescued just in time.
Here's what the Lord put on my heart after that. Now, it may sound cheesy, but isn't that so much like life? It totally is to me! Whenever I go through a reeeeeeally bad storm, it sometimes feels like God will never show up. The storm will rage on, and I will feel totally abandoned and left to my own devices. (Which, I don't know about you, but mine are pretty limited.)
But that's not God! He is the God of perfect love and perfect timing. What He's actually doing is allowing us to go through trials that will strengthen us, and then, when we have reached the point of growing to the extent He wanted to take us, He will swoop in and rescue us.
I don't know about you, but I've been through that. Not too long ago, actually. I went through a season of the worst, most awful storm. It was so bad that it nearly wrecked several areas of my life. I couldn't see God in it. I felt lost, abandoned, confused, discouraged. And I felt like He wasn't paying any attention--that He'd never provide the rescue I needed.
Ah, but He did. :) He knew the whole time that the season of turmoil would produce such new strength in me that He allowed it to go on for a certain amount of time. He asked me to trust Him through it and to watch and wait for His deliverance. My faith did remain--though it was certainly hard. But deep down, even when opposing voices told me otherwise, I did know that He would eventually work it out.
And He did. He rescued me at just the right time and almost instantly calmed a multi-year storm.But, man, it was hard to get there.
That was exactly like that run. It kept getting worse and worse, and just when we thought we were lost to the elements, our rescue arrived. Thank You, Lord, for being the God of perfect timing and deliverance!
I want to really encourage you all today. No matter what you're going through, don't ever think that God doesn't care or has left you. He KNOWS what is going on. He loves you. He hurts with you. BUT, He knows what this season of your life is really about--that it will produce such good things in you that wouldn't be developed any other way than through trials. Trust Him. Cling to Him. Lean on Him. Rest in Him. Know that He will show up at just the right time and save the day. :) Or, in this case, calm the storm.
Love and hugs to you all! :)