You’ve been here before, the moment right before the storm. All was calm twenty minutes ago, but now-as your nose meets that distinct smell- you know it’s coming. The storm. The rain. The hail.
All of us are familiar with the storms. They are different in different seasons, yet the storms are always the same. They always blow with a fervor intent on knocking us down. They always wail and pound the life out of our hearts. They always flood the streets with fear and the swift waters of confusions.
Storms are not fun.
They are part of life though, just like breathing. Storms are one thing you can guarantee will come. The question is- will you be ready?
I tend to not be prepared for the storms. I tend to forget that the seasons change. I tend to forget that the ground needs watering. To be perfectly honest, I would prefer the ground not be watered at all; I would prefer dry, dusty ground to soft, luscious grass if that meant I didn’t have to sit through the storm. The truth is, however, that I don’t have a choice. God does not consult me on this one. Believe me; I’ve tried to give Him my opinion on more than one occasion.
He doesn’t take the storms away, but He does give us a chance to prepare. He hands us the umbrella. He puts the rain boots by the door. He buys the shiny yellow rain jacket. He prepares us for what is to come…only we have to choose to put on the rain gear.
The rain boots do us no good when we refuse to put them on. The umbrella does us no good stuck between the seat. The rain jacket does us no good when it is still safely in its package on our bed. We can have all the preparations, but unless we choose to use them, they are useless.
Instead of taking the time to stop and pick them up, we spend our time preparing. When the storm comes, we don’t use what we have gathered during the calm. Nope- we start preparing for the next storm, gathering what we will need, planning for the future winds, predicting the coming waves. Our minds go, go, go and our bodies move, move, move. We can’t stop to protect ourselves from the hail falling on our heads because we are too busy doing. “Can’t stop,” you say. “I have to be prepared. I have to do this and this and this, so I’ll be ready for the storm.”
HELLO. The storm is already here.
God’s preparations are nothing like our preparations. We go, go, go. We check off our to-do lists. We plan out the next seven years of our lives. We move, move, move until it is time to fall into bed and start over again the next morning. We run ourselves into the ground with our “busy, busy, busy” constantly in a hurry lives. We prepare to the point of no more preparations, and then don’t know how to respond to the storm. Our preparations sit there, useless.
God has a different plan. His preparations are not hard. They are not useless. They are not tiring. When the storm looms on the horizon, God says one thing (and one thing ONLY): rest. Rest in Me, He whispers as the winds pick up. Rest in who I am, He whispers as their words knock you down. Rest in my strength, He whispers when the diagnoses seems to darken the skies. Rest in my promise, He whispers when your perfectly planned future falls apart. Rest in Me, He whispers again and again in your ear as the storm batters you down.
Today was a day of rest. It was a day where nothing was planned. A day that just went with the flow. A day that didn’t need a to-do list. It was a day of quiet rest, resting in Him. He prepares us in the rest. He fills us with strength to withstand whatever storm is heading your way. He knows how weak we are. He knows how busy we get with our plans. He knows that the moment we step away from His arms chaos reigns again. He knows how busy life becomes, yet He calls you to rest with Him. Rest in Him. Rest for Him.
Rest when the laundry is piling up. Rest when the to-do list is five pages long. Rest when every minute of the next seven days seems to be crammed with stuff to do. Rest when you can think of a million other things to do. Rest because you never know when you are going to need that strength.
The rain boots are sitting by the door as the smell of rain drifts through the air. I challenge you to put them on.
Verse: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'” (Psalm 91: 1-2)