"So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation." 1 Peter 5:10
This verse above was how I ended my last post - a post about rubbish being restored. Who knew? Who knew what devastation was to occur within 36 hours of that post? Only God.
It'shard, no it’s impossible, for me to hold it together seeing the images and hearing the stories from Oklahoma. The children. The destruction. The seeming randomness of it all. Why were some spared while others were obliterated?
Here in New Jersey, we had similar experiences at the hand of Hurricane Sandy. Seven months ago, total destruction randomly meted out.
This morning’s Jesus Calling lends some insight:
I, the Creator of the universe,am with you and for you. What more could you need? When you feel some lack, it is because you are not connecting with Me at a deep level. I offer abundant Life; your part is to trust Me, refusing to worry about anything.
It is not so much adverse events that make you anxious as it is your thoughts about those events. Your mind engages in efforts to take control of a situation, to bring about the result you desire. … you forget that I am in charge of your life. The only remedy is to switch your focus from the problem to My Presence. Stop all your striving, and watch to see what I will do. I am the Lord!
I feel conflicted when I read this. Yes, God is the Comforter who offers worry-free abundant life. But He’s also the Creator of the universe, so couldn’t He prevent this?
Well yes, He could. But in this instance, He didn’t. My earthly mind thinks this is harsh. But my spirit seeks truth from the Word. And this is where it starts to make a little sense. Often we never fully know the whys of situations like this. But we can know in part.
The Word tells us that God used hardship and persecution to accomplish His purposes:
- of bringing His people, the nation of Israel, back into relationship with Him.
- of leading His people, the church, out of Jerusalem to share the Gospel in the outermost parts of the earth.
- of allowing His people individually to seek comfort, solace, strength, purpose, vision, courage, in Him the Source.
If we trust in Him in the good times, how much more do we need to trust in Him during the hard?
Seven months ago, the Jersey Shore appeared without hope and beyond repair. Many areas still remain just as they were. But other areas are being given new life. They are restored stronger and better than they were before. Progress is being made daily. Most of the beaches and boardwalks will be open next weekend for Memorial Day even though the construction continues.
If in the physical realm, we can achieve more than we imagine possible at the moment of heartache, how much more can we as believers, with infinite resources to call upon, rise above our circumstances in hope.
Right now, things in Oklahoma appear to be without hope and beyond repair. But that’s just the beginning of the story. The Psalmist said:
I waited patiently for theLord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mudand mire;
he set my feeton a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new songin my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear theLord
and put their trustin him. Ps. 40:1-3
Lord, we pray for those who are experiencing unimaginable loss and destruction in Oklahoma. We grieve with them. We ask that You bathe the area in Your promise of hope for the future, provide the needed resources, burden hearts to offer help, comfort those in despair. May we see You and experience Your peace in the midst and the aftermath of the storm. In the steady rock named Jesus we pray, Amen.
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Susan Panzica is a Jewish Jersey girl who loves Jesus, her family, the ocean, and mangos. Her passion is to bring an eternal perspective to earthly matters through writing, speaking, teaching, and coffee dates. A quasi-emptynester who works with her chiropractor husband, she thoroughly enjoys when her college age children are home, with or without all their friends. Susan is a speaker, women and children’s Bible teacher, and writer of the devotional blog Eternity Café. You can also check out Susan at www.susanpanzica.com