Haven’t heard from me in a while now, haven’t you?
I don’t know about you…but for the past month and a half, pretty much since the beginning of the year, I feel like I’m a tent in a sandstorm. From my duties at home as a dad, husband, homeschooler, to my duties at church as a scoutmaster, to my duties at work, to the pressures of schedules between all of these duties, with all of my weaknesses popping up in all of them and people’s getting frustrated with me, to all of my favorite temptations popping up enticing me to use them as my escape… And then, everything just keeps stacking up, and coming in waves. A layoff at work. There’s financial issues in line. A month-long family vacation that is at our heels. Compressed schedules to compensate for everything. Kids that need to get ahead of the schedule. Problems in the neighborhood to plan for. A to-do list that needs to be done but keeps piling up because I’m doing other people’s to-do list. Money that the kids need to earn. Tools that need to be repaired from last season in preparation for the new gardening season. Campouts. River trips. Tax season. And bills…bills…and more bills.
I’m already looking at things stretching through the end of July…and I’m just barely finishing February.
And then there’s the drought over here that we’re worried about, and all the problems with the government and the rest of the world we’re supposed to be aware of but just don’t have time or mental or emotional resources to deal with because they will do whatever the darn well please because they can.
They. Just. Keep. Coming.
And it doesn’t stop there. That’s just the outside-of-me stuff. Then there’s the inner storm that I still have to deal with…from my personal weaknesses and failures, to my struggles to lose weight and stay healthy, to my struggles to be a good dad to my kids and give them my time, to my struggle to be a loving husband to my wife and give her my time, to being a good son and brother…and how I’ve neglected that part of me, to trying to get a grip on my relationships with my relatives and staying connected, to trying to do God’s will and listening to His voice through His spirit as well as taking care of my heart, mind, and soul.
No. End. In. Sight.
But that’s not all. As I try to pay attention to other people’s situations, I’ve noticed some of them having their own storms to deal with. For some of them, their storms are manageable. Others are barely hanging on. Others, still, are seeing miracles in their storms.
As I’ve reflected on all of these things, I’ve come to realize one thing:
Sometimes the Lord needs to give us a reason to trust Him.
And that’s usually the hard part. We tend to want to do things on our own. I’m beginning to realize that there are some things I cannot do on my own. I tend to want to rely on my own strength. You know, “Self Reliance”. We’ve focused so much on running away from being dependent from others and being “self-reliant” instead that we forget that we should really be “God-reliant.” And for God to encourage us to rely on Him, he allows us to pass through storms…the kinds of storms where only He is the only one able to carry us through, where He is the only one strong enough, wise enough, and calm enough to get us through.
When things are going well, do we have a reason to trust God? Nope. In fact, we tend to forget Him when things are well. But when things are overwhelming, we realize just how small we really are…and that’s when we’re supposed to turn to Him. Problems come to us by design: ultimately, they should point us to God.
And that’s how I feel as this Tent in a Sandstorm. Even though my storms will come in waves, relentless in their impact, I’ve learned one thing: Trust Him. And you know what? I’m actually at peace even through it all. It’s a weird…but comforting feeling…because I’ve seen the Lord’s hand in helping me get through each wave of that storm.
And to have the Lord’s hand of guidance and protection on your tent?….To be anchored while in that storm?