Jesus Christ is the same yesterday,
today, and forever.
When I was a little girl, we lived in West Texas. I was at school out on the playground with some friends, and when we looked up off in the distance we could see a tornado. We went running to the teacher to tell her and as she began yelling for everyone to come in, sirens started blaring. The room we went to was an outer room, not part of the main building and there were doors on either side of the room that our teacher had left open.
I can remember being crouched down and was one of the ones at the end of the line, so I was right by one of the doors leading outside. I can also remember the wind as it ripped through the room and the almost howling sound it made. My shirt wasn’t tucked in and I can remember the feel of the wind on my back. Isn’t it crazy the things we can remember from when we were kids?
The tornado had ripped our town apart! The hospital was gone. And a beautiful row of trees, that went down the center of the road I walked down to go to school, was completely missing. The whole back patio at our house had been removed. Two of the white metal posts were sticking out of our roof. One of our neighbors told us later that they had seen one of our Doberman pups get picked up and tossed into our wooden fence. It was all due to the strength of that tornado and the destruction it did was incredible. Again, I can still close my eyes and remember what the wind felt like on my back, but what I am reminded of even more vividly is that though the tornado had been intensifying, God is even more still.
When the earth shakes, God is still. When the earth trembles and the flood waters roar, God is still. What I mean is that God is still stronger than all of these things. He is the one that causes the earth to shake, but He Himself does not shake. He is sturdy, He is stable.
“The LORD is like a strong tower;
those who do right can run to him for safety”
However, another verse that gives me something to grasp when I need someone mighty to hold onto is:
“The LORD will roar like a lion from Jerusalem; his loud voice will thunder from that city, and the sky and the earth will shake. But the LORD will be a safe place for his people, a strong place of safety for the people of Israel” (Joel 3:16).
When we have severe turbulence in our lives, we need to know that the God we anchor ourselves to isn’t going to buckle. His legs are not going to give out from underneath Him when we go running to Him and all we have time to say is, “Here I am, catch me.”
He is our lifeguard, and when we are swimming in the sea-- He is the one who is on the lookout for us. He can see what is coming at us long before it shows itself to us. When we are in battle and wonder if there will ever be victory because all we can see is the enemy attacking us, God can see the reinforcements that are just over the hill, for He is the one sending them.
He shelters us, and I often think of Jesus stretched out over me like an umbrella. I may be getting a little damp from the sprays here and there, but I can only imagine, and be grateful for, what He is absorbing with His back! So who am I to complain if I get a little wet? At least I am not getting soaked from the storm. The Lord is taking care of that.
I keep reminding myself that His job is to be God, and my job is to remain in Him. This is an easy thing to do when God is doing what I think He should do, when things are going the way I expected. But, it is a lot harder when I know I am being obedient but everything just seems to be going by the wayside! I often wonder if this is how it was for John the Baptist.
One day John was telling people, “I know He (Jesus) is the one, I saw it with my own eyes.” John stood up to everyone around him and declared, “This is the man.” He believed what God showed him and he believed what God told him. So it is a little heartbreaking when shortly afterward he was sitting in a cell waiting for death, but praying for help. Day in and day out, no help came, no vindication came, and no release came, no rescue.
Did John succumb to doubt and wonder if he had been wrong? Did he fall to the self-doubt of questioning, “Didn’t Jesus know where he (John) was? Didn’t Jesus know what was happening?” Yes, John did, because after awhile he sent a message to Jesus asking, “Are you the one we are waiting for, or is there someone else?” (Matt. 11:3). And, yes, Jesus did know. He sent a message back to John saying, “Those who do not stumble in their faith because of me are blessed” (Matt.11:6).
It is easy to stand firm in our faith and believe God is stable when what we believe is being played out. But when everything we believe is contrary to what we see happening, then it leaves room for doubt. But the same thing Jesus told John is what He also tells us. Eventually we will be blessed if we will not stumble in our faith because of what our circumstances look like. At some point we will be rewarded for our faith, if we will believe what God has shown us even when it appears that God has forgotten us or isn’t working on our behalf. Know that He hasn’t forgotten and that He is working.
Basically, Jesus told the messengers to tell John that everything was working out the way it was supposed to, so don’t give up the faith or on what God has said. We have to remember that just like John, even if it appears for us to end in death, we have still won if we can take our faith to the death with us. Because even in death, if we believe, we still hold the victory. God is there in death to receive us.
Before I get too far away from the story of the tornado that happened when I was a young girl, I want to share something with you. My grandparents on my dad’s side lived in the next town over about 45 minutes from us. The only thing between our town and theirs was a very long West Texas highway.
When it came over my grandparents’ radio that our town had been hit by a tornado, my grandfather and uncle jumped in his truck. My grandmother was not about to be left out and took off following my grandfather in her car. About halfway to our town, my grandfather came to a roadblock and was told that due to the destruction, no one was being let in until things had settled.
My grandmother, who was behind my grandfather’s truck, watched as my grandfather slammed his truck in reverse and backed up, turned the steering wheel, and headed cross country around the roadblock and kept on going. My grandmother told us later that she sat there for a second and thought, “Okay, well, here we go.” And she took out after him. She told my mom and dad later that she thought for sure they were going to jail.
You see, my dad had been out of town. He had been up in the Texas panhandle on a business trip for several days and my mother was home all alone with me and the older of my two younger brothers. So, my grandfather decided nothing was getting in his way or stopping him from getting to us.
Now I share this with you for two reasons: (1) I will admit that whenever I think about this event and my grandfather heading cross country, it makes me smile and kind of chuckle, and (2) I also share this with you so it will help you to understand how and who my grandfather was. He loved hunting, golfing, and football. But he also had a strong belief in God and loved to sing the old gospel songs. He was stubborn, hardheaded, and loved his family. He was very full of life!
But then the news came one day that he had cancer. It was mid–life and he had the whole rest of his life and retirement to look forward to. During his treatment for cancer he had a stroke. My grandfather did survive the stroke. He even went home, lived with my grandmother for a couple more years, was at my wedding, and lived long enough to see my oldest son after he was born. The problem was, it wasn’t my grandfather that came home. Not the one I grew up with. Not the one that went barreling around the roadblock to get to us. This man was quiet and reserved. I still loved him dearly and I know my grandmother was just happy to still have him with her.
But then the cancer really kicked in and with treatment after treatment, he just couldn’t win. I learned that it’s really hard to grieve for someone who was gone (because the grandfather I knew died in the stroke) but technically was still alive. We had to watch as he slowly suffered and as my grandmother had to step up and fill a role she had never had to before. You see, before the stroke, my grandfather was “THE MAN OF HIS HOME.” He was very strong, very dependable, and took care of things. He “wore the pants in the family,” that is for sure. And my grandmother loved him. There were times I can remember that she got “spit fire mad at him,” but she loved him.
They belonged to a small church in a small town and I know everyone kept praying for him because he still had so much to live for. My grandmother prayed for him and my family prayed for him. But he didn’t recover. And my grandmother, who is still alive as I write this, is a very active woman who loves bowling, shopping, golfing, and plays bingo. But she has had to live a number of years without my grandfather. And my grandmother’s faith? She has not stumbled!
She still believes that God is good, God is mighty, and that God is God. Some might say that her prayers and our prayers were not answered. Yet, I know that they were. Maybe not in the way I was hoping or in the way that I know my grandmother was praying. Our prayers just weren’t answered on this side of heaven. I have no doubt that he is home with God. So when skeptics want to say, “God didn’t answer your prayers, because your grandfather died.” My comment is, “Yes, God did.” He answered them in the way that He wanted and for what was best for my grandfather.
Through people in the church and family members, God is taking care of my grandmother. She does miss my grandfather. But when my grandfather was dying and there was nothing that could be done for him, she held onto God, who was a very stable bedrock for her.
A verse that our middle son often repeats before saying his bedtime prayers is from Numbers 23:19, “God is not a human being, and he will not lie. He is not a human, and he does not change his mind. What he says he will do, he does. What he promises, he makes come true.”
I like it also. It is good for us to remember that God is not a human and He doesn’t have our frailties. He is sure-footed and strong. When storms hit us and we turn to Him, He becomes our rock. He will not be moved; therefore, we shall not be moved.
One last thing to think about before we end this chapter is from Hebrews 12:26-27: “When he spoke before, his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Once again I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ The words, ‘once again’ clearly show us that everything that was made--things that can be shaken--will be destroyed. Only the things that cannot be shaken will remain.”
Sometimes God will allow us to be shaken so things that have grown up around us or have become attached to us, that aren’t from Him or what He would have for us, will be removed. I like to think about this in terms of a forest fire. The forest can look really full with lots of trees but then a fire comes along and everything that wasn’t really alive and was actually dead inside will be removed. But it is in getting rid of the dead growth that new things can grow.
Often this is the only way that God can grow us. He lets us go through was seems like fire, where our whole world is shaken, but then afterward we are freed of so much that wasn’t really alive, of stuff that on the outside might have appeared to look whole, but God knew better. So He puts us through seasons where everything is shaken but when we come out of it, anything that is truly of God, and what God wants for us, will remain with us and in us. We are then able to grow. But keep in mind that during these seasons our world may be shaken but God isn’t and He stays beside us through it until we have reached the other side.
In closing of God is Stable
♥ PRAYING IN FAITH
Father God, thank You that Your love for us remains so un-changing and forever lasting. Thank You for all that You do for us and in us. We praise You for Your protection and how often You work things out for us, sometimes without us even being aware of it. Father, You are so awesome to us.
Lord I truly pray for this reader. Father God, may they come to know You so deeply that they also will have a faith and belief in You that will remain unshaken so that no matter what they go through, they themselves will see that You are their stable Almighty God. I praise you, Lord God, because You will be steady even when we are not.
In Christ Jesus’ name I pray,