Cloudy with a chance of sunshine was the forecast.
And for once, the weatherman was right.
Clouds, wind, and cool temperatures in the early morning made me doubt his judgment, but by late morning, clouds began to part and warm rays of sunshine began to shine on my neck and shoulders. I began shredding outer layers of clothing as I settled into the bleachers more comfortably to watch my son, Andrew, pitch his first tournament game of the season. By the end of the game, I was French fry toasty, and happy about it!
The second day of the tournament, however, was downright frigid. The wind beat against coaches, players and fans like a whip, and the temperatures couldn’t seem to climb past 20 degrees. As if that wasn’t miserable enough, snow began to fall.
Life is like that sometimes. One day, we’re enjoying the blessing of sunshine. The next, we’re seeking shelter. The challenge, of course is to seek shelter in the right place. If we wiggle and writhe in worry, focusing on the storm instead of the One who approved the sending of it, we’ll succumb to the harshness of it.
Hannah Whitall Smith describes a storm in her life in this way:
A time of great emergency had risen in my life, when every part of my being seemed to throb with anxiety, and when the necessity for immediate and vigorous action seemed overpowering; and yet circumstances were such that I could do nothing, and the person who could, would not stir.
For a little while it seemed as if I must fly to pieces with the inward turmoil, when suddenly the still small voice whispered in the depths of my soul, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The word was with power, and I hearkened. I composed my body to perfect stillness, and I constrained my troubled spirit into quietness, and looked up and waited; and then I did “know” that it was God, God even in the very emergency and in my helplessness to meet it; and I rested in Him. It was an experience that I would not have missed for worlds; and I may add also, that out of this stillness seemed to arise a power to deal with the emergency, that very soon brought it to a successful issue. I learned then effectually that my “strength was to sit still.”
I can’t say that every player on Andrew’s team dealt with the snow storm in this way – particularly the right fielder. I was doing my best to focus on Andrew and the game in general. However, it was nearly impossible with the right fielder dancing his little jig, as though he needed to make a dash for the restroom and couldn’t, or had just slammed his finger in a door.
I wanted to shout, “Hey you! Number 11! You look ridiculous! Buck up, and weather the storm like the rest of them!” But alas, shouting from my warm, cozy car with surround sound stereo seemed a bit hypocritical, so I remained quiet and watchful as he continued his antics.
The other players, however, were not dancing any jigs. With eyes squinted against the wind and snow, their cheeks glowed, and they were in obvious discomfort. But – they were choosing to remain focused on the pitcher and batter. Because the outcome of the game was more important to them than any suffering or discomfort they could encounter along the way.
They were focused. Still. Determined.
That’s how we should be in the storms that God brings our way: focused in the discomfort, not on the discomfort. Knowing and resting in the fact that He is God, and that “this too shall pass.”
I don’t know what your storm is today. Mine will likely be fatigue and nausea due to chronic digestive illnesses, and irritation that I’m not getting my to-do list done because of these symptoms. It’s the same storm I battle most days. But whatever our storms look like, I hope we choose to be still and know that He is God.
To purposely remain focused on Him, and His enormous power.
Because ours is so weak and so small.
-Brenda R. Coats