It made an impression on me nearly 30 years ago when my friend, Linda, happily informed me that my new home in Seattle didn’t have poisonous snakes or dangerous spiders. Seattle rarely had tornadoes or lightning or anything else that people think of that might hurt you. There didn’t even seem to be a bad part of town that we should completely avoid, a contrast to our former college home in Chicago. Also, unlike Chicago, she had never even seen a cockroach here! Win!
Of course, we might get earthquakes occasionally, and the threat of a volcanic eruption is always somewhere in the way far back of your mind, but drizzle is the most immediate threat, and it won’t kill you.
Other places, as the news often reminds us, are not so lucky. Why should one place be hit with constant tornadoes or hurricanes or fires or rattlesnakes or (fill in the blank for your personal nightmare senario), when other places seem safe by comparison?
For that matter, why does one person get cancer and another is healthy as a horse? Why does one person seem to get everything they want and another struggles just to get by?
Life isn’t fair. It just isn’t, no matter how we try to attribute blame or rage at God, or ask, ‘Why me?’ Sometimes, there’s just no figuring out why some people seem to have it so easy.
I have to admit that I’ve had it pretty good. A couple run-ins with cancer, but always the “good kind,” doctors have said–completely treatable with little risk of spreading or recurrence. I feel pretty lucky. I am blessed in so many ways, and I know it, and I’m grateful.
Still, as we’ve been talking about in this blog series on HOPE, sometimes the overwhelming sin and despair and loneliness and cruelty and foolishness of the world around me can cause those little anxious pangs to run through my chest and make me wonder how things will ever really be okay for friends going through truly hard times, and for our country and world.
As Jesus spoke with authority to the wind and the waves, “Be still!”, amazing and restoring hope to the disciples, so he also speaks with authority into our troubled world. If the storm around us stays frustratingly in place, he can speak the comfort and calmness into our inner being, creating a peace that “passes understanding.”
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
His disciple, John, trusted in this peace of Christ completely. John quoted Jesus saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1). John is repeatedly referred to as the “Beloved disciple.” He knew Jesus loved him. He knew it.
Recently, I had some unfortunate news that isn’t life-threatening or even that painful–mainly frustrating, because it means a lot more work and expense coming up that I wasn’t planning on. My initial reaction, though, has been to wonder what God is up to! I feel peace about it, that this is a necessary step leading to something good. You can “Call Me Pollyanna,” as in my first post title in this series, but I think something deeper is going on.
I’ve been on this particular road for a long time, weathering a few storms of disappointment along the way–and God has been faithful. He’s let me see little bits of what he might be up to, and it gives me confidence that he is in charge of this latest change as well. I know he loves me, and that this will all turn out for good, if I allow God to be God, and not try to micro-manage things too much.
Do you know yourself to be a beloved child of God? You are! He is claiming you:
Beloved, now we are all children of God! (1 John 3:8).
Will you claim him? If you have never let yourself truly believe that you are a beloved child of God, trusting in him to still the storm around you–or the storm within you–won’t you try it today? What do you have to lose?