When the storms of life overwhelm you and you desperately need peace, come with author David Shelton on a figurative prayer journey toward Jesus who is present even in the middle of your storm.
A storm does not quite define the situations that we face in life. The storms of life are more comparable to a Category 5 hurricane than a simple storm.
Have you ever sat in the still of the night, the room awash with ambient light from neighborhood street lights and the moon? Those nights when even in the stillness you can barely hear yourself breathe?
When I sit alone at the top of the stairs on those nights I ask God for one thing: peace.
But the storms of life try to blow away that peace.
Imagine with me: Outside the windows of life we are watching it rain sideways because the wind is blowing so hard. We are afraid of this hurricane that has blown up out of nowhere. Hunkered down in the house, a mattress wrapped around the bathtub we watch and listen as the hurricane blows. During a slight pause in the driving rain we venture into the kitchen for water and snacks. Movement outside in the backyard catches your eye.
You look again and someone is laying on the hammock, gently swaying back and forth oblivious to the wind, rain, debris that fills the air and utter fear that grips you, me, and the neighbors. You grab a coat and ram your hands into the sleeves, pulling the coat around you without zipping it. “Hey, it’s a hurricane out there!” comes out of my mouth, but your ears ignore it. You stuff sockless feet into someone else’s shoes because they are the first pair you find. Your mind races with “What idiot is outside in weather like this…in my hammock?!?” You can’t believe you find yourself opening the door, but for some reason take a big breathe as if to duck under the water. You are going to find out who this person is laying on a hammock out in the middle of a hurricane!
You’re finding it hard to stand against the wind. The rain has picked up again and makes you squint to keep out what seem like buckets of water being dumped on you…strangely from the windward side. Debris pelts you and threatens to tear holes in your coat that you are now wishing you had zipped up because it’s hard to hold shut in this miserable hurricane…but you have to discover who this crazy person is. You struggle for footing against the wind, rain and debris. You finally get within a few feet of the hammock and are shocked at who is “hanging out” in your hammock.
That someone is gently swaying back and forth, eyes shut in pure delight, a small grin across his face…and then the powerful eyes meet yours. A bare foot slows the hammock to a stop. You think the foot looks scarred, but in a driving rain and with squinting eyes you’re not sure. As if to snatch you from the fury of the hurricane, a hand reaches out into the wind, rain and swirling debris to take yours. A hand you’ve never seen before, but letting go of your coat, and for what seems like an eternal moment, you are soaked to the skin as you lunge with both hands to grasp that hand. You think that you have grabbed that powerful hand with a huge scar, but in reality that hand that was thrust out with determination to reach out to you has grabbed you and pulled you in close…and away from the hurricane. One minute the hurricane howls in your ears. Then…peace.
You are suddenly aware of your tight grip with both of your hands on His and begin to relax as you become aware of your surroundings. You are now staring wide-eyed at a hand, strong and scarred. You gently caress the hands that blessed children and carried a wooden cross. You touch the nail print and water now begins to stream down your face, but not from the rain. In an instance you are strangely aware that the rain no longer soaks you, the wind no longer pelts you with debris nor tries to take you off of your feet. Sunlight comes from everywhere and the ground on which you stand is dry. There is a gentle breeze blowing which causes the hammock to sway.
You gather yourself and speak your simple prayer: “I need Your peace.”
In the midst of the hurricane you drop your coat, kick off your shoes and lay down on the hammock, nestled in the arms of the Savior who reminds you that He controls the wind and rain. He speaks into your life and reminds you of the words He repeated to His disciples over and over: “Don’t be afraid.” (John 6:20, HCSB)
Jesus also told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.” (John 14:20, HCSB)
In the darkest hour of your hurricane can you see the Savior’s hand? He is reaching for you. Grab hold of his hand with both of yours and don’t let go. Then pray this simple prayer:
“I need Your peace.”
Why is Jesus interested in you and your problems? He loves you. In your grief over the death of a loved one, He loves you. When you lose your case in court, He loves you. When you think that you’re going to lose it all, He loves you. He brings peace to your hurricane.
“He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6b, HCSB)
Copyright David Shelton 2012 All rights reserved