Lake Powell, AZ
Nowhere in the Bible is it written that the life of a Christian will be easy. Instead, we are told the Christian will suffer as Christ suffered. Meaning, storms of life will come and go and leave their marks on us as they do the unbeliever.
I remember last October, after my sister passed away from cancer, I had registered to run a half marathon at Lake Powell. I wasn’t sure if we should still go so soon after my sister’s death, but we both knew my sister would want our lives to go on. As my husband and I were driving toward Page, AZ, for a half marathon race, we could see storm clouds gathering above the city. It’s hard enough to run a half marathon, but to run in the rain and wind makes it even harder! I could feel the fear and trepidation building inside me.
We tend to fear storms because we’ve all experienced them: literally and figuratively. We know how dangerous storms can be. All of us would love to live a life without storms, but what would that life look like?
Years ago, in Tucson, Arizona, scientists built the Biodome: A place where scientists could live and work in a perfect environment. They had perfect air, water, and soil to grow perfect food. They even made a simulated ocean! There within the Biodome, these scientists could study the effects of a perfect environment in hopes of replicating it in life.
After a while of living in this perfect environment, however, these scientists noticed something shocking: the trees they grew were dying. They were simply falling over dead at a young age. Concerned, they took samples of the air, water, and soil to try and figure out what was causing the deaths of these perfectly healthy trees.
All their tests showed nothing was wrong with the water, air, or soil. Perplexed, the scientists had no idea what was causing the deaths of the trees, until one day the answer came to them: No wind.
You see, there was no wind inside this “perfect” environment, but trees need wind. As a young tree grows, the wind beats against the trunk causing the roots to dig in deeper and the trunk grows stronger after each storm. Without those strong winds of a storm, the young trees did not become stronger. Instead, they became weaker and fell over.
We might desire to live in a “perfect” environment (a life without storms…) but by studying God’s creation, we can see that a life without storms makes us weaker.
I thought about this life lesson as we approached Page, AZ. I knew I could run the race in the rain, but it wouldn’t be easy. The morning of the race proved to be beautiful with the sun rising through the thick storm clouds. It only sprinkled on us as we ran.
Later that night came the rain, wind, and lightning. But we watched it from a safe haven inside our hotel room. It was a beautiful sight!
I have endured many storms in life. Recently, my whole family endured that hurricane called “cancer.” We endured for a year alongside our sister, mother, aunt, daughter, and friend: Tammie. Watching someone you love die a slow painful death isn’t easy. You feel helpless and hopeless. You walk away from that storm forever marked…forever changed.
But, after the rain and wind departs, the skies are clearer, the sun shines brighter, and the new day is remarkable. You walk away a stronger person for having endured the storms.
The good shepherd knows how to handle the storm. He gathers his sheep and provides a shelter. During the storm, he watches the sheep to make sure none wander off and fall into a raging river or off a cliff to their deaths. He keeps a vigilant watch all through the night. And in the morning, he counts his sheep to see if any are lost. If any are gone, he searches for them and returns them to the fold. He binds their wounds and heals them.
So, never fear the storms of life. They come to make you stronger. The rain makes you grow and the winds make you stand firm. Praise God you have the Good Shepherd who will remain with you throughout the storms. He will never leave you nor forsake you. There is purpose in everything He does.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11
“As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.” Ezekiel 34:12