PRAISE YOU IN THIS STORM
Storms come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes there’s a gradual build up, white fluffy clouds gradually becoming darker and lower, but sometimes they seemingly come from nowhere. Sometimes storms are foreboding and scary and long. Sometimes they are light and short and finished soon after they start. Sometimes there are strong winds, sometimes rain, sometimes thunder and lightning, sometimes all of them!
Similarly, the storms of life. Sometimes we feel or see them coming and then they are upon us…but sometimes they catch us by surprise. Sometimes we’re caught unaware by the intensity of them, sometimes we weather them well. The storms of life can hit our health, our relationships, our finances, our emotions, our spiritual life. When a life storm hits it can leave us feeling buffeted, bruised, scared, and overwhelmed.
Like all of us, I’ve experienced the storms of life. They are inevitable. In the middle of a storm, especially a big one, sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my way. I don’t know what to do. My emotions are a roller-coaster and I’m not even sure what to pray. I have no idea what God is doing, and no idea what I should do. I feel overwhelmed and like I’m drowning. There’s much that can be written about weathering them, but today I want to focus on one simple thing.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORM?
There’s always one thing we can always do in a storm – worship. The storms of life seem to have the capacity of drawing our attention onto our circumstances. But if we lift our gaze from our circumstances and praise and worship our Heavenly Father, it changes our focus.
Is it hard? You bet! In the middle of a storm we don’t always feel like praising God, we’re struggling just to keep our head above water and breathe. “What?” I hear you saying. “You want me to do something more than just surviving?” Yes, I do. I highly recommend it.
I find the Psalms helpful for my soul in the storms, because many of them were written by people also experiencing the storms of life. When I struggle to find words of my own, the psalmist’s words can become my prayer, my cry for help, my declaration of faith.
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
You are my refuge and shield; your word is my source of hope.
When we worship in the midst of the storm, we remind ourselves that we are not alone. The truth of God’s Word speaks light, hope and life to our soul.
It doesn’t have to be an hour-long praise and worship session (although it can be). It can be moment by moment short prayers. “God, I feel so alone, but thank you that your Word promises that you are with me always”. “God, my heart is overwhelmed, but you say that when I pass through the rivers I won’t be overwhelmed.” “God, I’m anxious, help me to trust you today and leave the future in your hands”. “God, I praise you that you work all things together for good.” “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” Or, simply, “HELP!!!”
Perhaps putting on some praise and worship songs will help you articulate those things you are struggling to say.
Perhaps you could pop a verse of scripture on a sticky note and put in somewhere you’ll see it regularly.
It can be tempting to isolate yourself in a storm, fearing others may not understand – but surrounding yourself with godly friends who can pray with you and for you, especially if you are struggling to pray yourself, can be a great source of strength and encouragement.
All these things are acts of worship because they are directing our gaze from the storm to our Heavenly Father.
One thing I’ve discovered over and over is that there are times when we long for God to calm the storm but instead He leads us through it. Last week I shared this quote in our Thrive Facebook group:
“In the middle of your storm? You aren’t alone. Your good shepherd doesn’t just point the way through – He *leads* the way through. He is with you right now and He *is* The Way through.” ~ Ann Voskamp
We are never alone, and our Heavenly Father is always working in our heart and our circumstances. When we choose worship, when we lift our gaze to Him, we may see some of the ways He is working, even if he doesn’t deliver us from the storm. When we look for things to be thankful for, we see His provision, His care, His presence, answered prayers, encouragement.
Praise the Lord, praise God our Saviour! For each day He carries us in His arms.
If you are in the middle of a storm, can I encourage you to praise God? To worship Him?
In the middle of a recent storm in my life, I read Psalm 121, and it really spoke to my heart. That same day I listened to the below Casting Crowns song that a good friend sent me, and it contained part of Psalm 121. I knew my Heavenly Father was speaking to my heart, confirming what I had read that morning! He saw me. He cared. I want to share the song as I close, hoping and praying it encourages your heart. (And you might like to read Psalm 121 too!)
Your Care Team pastor,
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