“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.”
Psalm 107:28-30 NIV
Today I am remembering a storm that blew through the beautiful garden of my heart not so long ago. The sky was so blue and then out of nowhere the storm clouds began to gather. It was storm of massive destruction. The storm caught me off guard and pounded me with raining tears that could not be comforted. As the winds of this storm blew through my garden it uprooted trees that had been in place all my life. It turned over pots that contained memories that were precious. This storm of devastation left not only broken tree limbs but a broken heart.
I am happy to report that the storm has passed. I no longer have tears. God has healed my broken heart. It has not ended as I had hoped but I have forgiven. I so wish I could say that it has also been forgotten, but only God can take the sin in our life and cast it as far as the east is from the west, to be remembered no more. My memory still carries the scar from the experience but God has applied the balm of healing to my near fatal wound.
For me life was good. I had a beautiful home, a wonderful husband, good children, an amazing church, and did not want for anything that I truly needed. The garden of my heart bloomed with love, joy, and peace. Then boom! Out of nowhere Satan ravaged my garden and left emotional havoc on every pathway and in every nook and cranny! The sun went dark in my garden as I groped to find even one rose of love, or a daisy of joy, there was not a single peace lily to be found. Satan, in one fell swoop managed to orchestrate a storm in my life that smashed nearly every pot of beautiful flowers in my garden. This brokenness was more than I thought I could bear.
In the past, when I would sit with the Master Gardner, he would warn me to cut back bushes of pride. He had suggested that I trim away dead branches of selfishness that were found on the trees in my heart’s garden. He told me to thin out the tall perennials that waved suggestive messages of invasive control. My past had taught me to be judgmental and those thoughts had taken a tight hold in my life and had become root bound. I was warned that roots in that condition hinder further growth. The Gardner had shown me vines that needed trimming because they were not bearing fruit. Oh yes, I had been warned, there was still so much work that needed to be a done in the garden of my heart. Regretfully, I did not heed the warning.
Then one beautiful day the destructive storm pounded down on my emotions. My heart was broken as a result of this storm and a darkness I had never know before descended upon my garden. The good news was that the garden of my heart was not beyond repair. I looked up and allowed the light of Jesus to shine into my heart’s garden. You see, with Jesus in our life, life is never hopeless. When we look to him he begins the restoration needed to restore all that needs to be restored. He pulls up and casts out all that is useless and ugly and in its place he plants hope and peace.
There were many lessons I learned from that storm. I am certain that God used my lack of obedience to his suggestions as a spring board that began the process of breaking the things in my life that needed to be broken. I know that God is all powerful and is always capable of preventing these devastating storms of life. But sometimes God allows, and quite possibly arranges the details of our life as a means whereby we may be broken. I was beginning to understand that God is able to use the tools of loss and personal failure to bring about positive change in my life. I am amazed that God loves me enough to attempt to stamp out sinful behavior in my life. My self confidence always seems to push God away; however, personal need always draws me to him. I have learned that God created me and he knows my potential. He knows the plans that he has for me, plans that will give me a hope and a future. I am thankful that God loves me enough to continue to prune me even if it results in painful trials and destructive storms in my life.
When I choose to resist God he usually applies more pressure. My willingness to surrender to God lessens the pressure. I remember one particular struggle that seemed to hang around forever. After a very long time I ultimately surrendered my circumstance to God. I chose his will over my will. Past experience tells me that I usually do eventually surrender my will to God’s will. Lately, when I have been faced with a new storm in life I have been consciously praying, “God, I think I will go straight to surrender because I know that is where I will end up anyway.” The older I get the less I want to struggle with God. I am learning that there is no contest in wrestling with someone who always wins. I am finding that I’m getting too tired to fight. I am realizing that I crave the peace of God more and more. I am beginning to love God more than I love having my own way. Struggling with God always robs me of peace and joy.
As I look back on my life there is a strong personal timeline that tells me that God is not my enemy. This timeline marks for me God’s faithfulness in the past and his faithfulness today. Why then, would I struggle with trusting him with the future? Even in my darkest of days God has positioned people, circumstances, opportunity, sermons of encouragement, and songs of praise to lift me up and set me free from the darkness of every storm. I know that God breaks me not to teach me a lesson but rather to give me a purpose. At the end of the storm I always find a rainbow reminding me of his faithful promises of love and that love strengthens my walk of faith and gives me eternal hope.
It almost goes without saying that many of the storms of life come because we live in a fallen world. We often find our self in the midst of a storm as the direct result of another person's sinful behavior. Tragedy also comes from natural disasters. Those storms have nothing to do with our disobedience. Death is also an unexpected storm, yet without a doubt, although death is natural it still leaves us standing in the middle of a storm of change and grief. Today I am making a personal note that the next time brokenness comes into my life, I hope it will be from something that is beyond my control. I don’t want to experience the natural consequence of brokenness because of my repeated failure to listen and obey God or my anger or unforgiveness, nor do I want it to be because of my pride or my need for control. I don’t want it to be because I forge ahead of God because I am too impatient or afraid to trust the one who holds my future.
1. Has God ever changed you for his glory through the brokenness in your life?
2. Are you currently experiencing a storm of destruction in your life?
3. Is God asking you to surrender your emotions or your need for control into his capable hands?
4. Has God been faithful to you in the past?
5. Do you believe that God is all that you need and will be more than enough in the future?
Help me not to despise when brokenness comes into my life. Rather, help me to surrender my life into your gentle hands for redirection, comfort, and peace. I ask that you still every storm in my life. I know that you hear the one who cries out in their trouble. Father you are the one who guides me out of my distress. Father I believe with all my heart that you are able to still the storm to a whisper and hush the waves of this sea. I will pray and I will expect your calm to come to my life until this storm passes over. God, help me to be sensitive to your voice. I want to learn to obey you sooner opposed to later. Help me God to receive with joy the purpose that you have for me as a result of every storm. God, I want to thank you for all of the wonderful times in my life that you have positioned people in my life to help me, teach me, and to guide me in your ways. God, I even want to thank you for the times of brokenness in my life. Why do you love me so much that you would even bother? God, I know there have been relationships in my life that were in need of repair, but out of that brokenness you repaired me! Lord I have grieved, but as you promised, you comforted me with the oil of gladness for those who mourn. God, you know there have been many times in my life when I wondered how I would make it, but you God have always sent the needed bread. Thank you! Why me Lord? Why are you so good to me? You are all that I need and more than enough.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.