Storms in the New Year

The LORD will keep you from all harm–He will watch over your life. ~ Psalm 121:7 NIV

This year started off with a bang. You know how the New Year is supposed to be a time of hope for new beginnings? Well, mere hours into this new year we entered a new storm. It’s not anything I can control, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying and balking. I just don’t want to be here. I’d like to have things get easier somewhere before they get harder.

I’ve written before about the difference between hurt and harm (see “The Sculptor’s Lair” in Tales from a Spacious Place). Sometimes hurt is a healing, life-giving thing even though it’s painful and just not fun. Hurt can be when God forces us to deal with the worst in ourselves and grow or when He lances open an emotional cyst so healing can begin. Harm, on the other hand, is destructive. God keeps us from harm, not hurt.

My husband recently listened to a talk on Matthew 14:22-33 where Jesus orders the disciples to get in the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side of the lake while He dismisses the crowd and then spends time alone. The teacher made the point that Jesus ordered the disciples into the storm, and argued it was because the storm was safer for the disciples than to stay with the crowd. Jesus knew their hearts, knew their tendency to crave greatness in the kingdom. The storm hurt, but it was the safer route–the route without harm.

It’s easy to look at my circumstances and complain–to believe the lie that more money would help or more health or better cars or a better house or fewer relational challenges, etc., etc., etc., would be better for me. But this storm is a safer place. Maybe those things would destroy my character or woo me away from God. I don’t know. But God does and I can trust that in allowing us to go through this storm, He is taking us by the safer route. The storm isn’t beyond His control (Praise the Lord!). The storm isn’t a shock to Him. Whatever storms you and I face this year, if you’re a child of God (Rom. 8:28; John 1:12), they’re not a detour. They’re the plan.

The LORD will keep you from all harm–He will watch over your life. ~ Psalm 121:7 NIV

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