Part 2: When The Tsunami Comes
Recently I have gone through trouble that has had a huge affect on my family and there was nothing I could do to change its course except pray and hold on to God’s promises. It has felt like a huge tsunami has overcome us and, although the worst of the storm has passed we are left with a lot of debris to deal with. This won’t get repaired in the near future.
When the tsunami comes in your life, when you are overwhelmed by the wave of depression and despair and you are rolled under the waves and can’t tell the top from the bottom, when life feels dark, and all strength and hope is gone, that is the time that the Lord will be free to work miracles. When you are so tired, so unable, that is when the Lord can bring a change in you and your circumstances. When you acknowledge that you are at the end of yourself and your ability to affect change everything in you yells for Help. Your help comes from the Lord even when you feel nothing. This is the time to let go and let Him do what He wants to do (without your help). When you feel most vulnerable that is when He does the most work on your behalf.
There used to be a TV show called Mission Impossible and every episode would start with a problem and then the announcer would say “This is your mission if you agree to it.” Our mission for life in Christ can be likened to the Girl Scout motto, “Be Prepared.” The Bible tells us that in this world there will be trouble, but don’t be overcome by the world. How can we not be overcome? Be prepared.
So how am I dealing with my tsunami? Better than times before, as I have prepared for this. For years I have been writing scriptures on index cards. Some are in a file box, some are in a photo album that I can quickly flip to, and some of my favorites are just rubber banded together and near where I pray. There are times I’ve practiced reading a scripture out loud and declaring it so the Word will attack the problem like a sword. I lift the shield of faith in my mind as I read the Word into the problem I’m facing. I’ve done this off and on through the years, but not every day. But when the tsunami came and the waves rose up, I dug out these scripture verses and started declaring the appropriate ones as if they were soldiers fighting the good fight for me. I also pondered the stories I remembered in the Bible where the angels or the Angel of the Host would fight, or when God would deliver someone from their enemies. I would remind the Lord of those stories and how I believed that He would do it for me too. Those stories rebuilt a lagging faith where I had let whispers of doubt creep in as the waves grew even stronger and I couldn’t find my footing.
Then there is the fact that I have spent years connecting with women in my sphere. I’ve become their friends and they’ve become mine. I’ve prayed for them in their troubles and they have prayed for me in mine. I have loved them and I am assured that they love me. Now it was easy for me to go to them and cry with them about my circumstances and confidently ask them to pray for and with me, knowing that they would be faithful to hold my family and me up too.
Years of preparation have gone into this fight against the effects of the tsunami my family has suffered, but I am certain that the Lord has heard our cries and is already answering our prayers and all will be used for good in His time.
So why am I telling you this? Part I of this newsletter series was about learning to sit in God’s Presence and letting Him love you. I have preached many a sermon exhorting people to be people of faith not of fear, but it is hard to be assured that people will be actually take the steps to do that. It always sounds so trite. Spend time with God, pray, read your Bible, write down scriptures that have meaning for you, and speak them into your circumstances, have trusted friends to hold you accountable and help you in grow. But the purpose of all of this is to be prepared for the day that will surely come when troubles will overwhelm you and it will be difficult to stand in complete faith without fear. Few are willing to listen to the warnings and prepare for the tsunami when the skies are sunny.
What I have found in my time of tsunami is that the months I have practiced the labyrinth discipline in my mind, where I talked to the Lord about my problems, then sat still before Him letting Him love me and talk to me or just be with me, and then getting up and going out to do His will in my everyday life, that’s what gave me the faith I needed that resulted in an overwhelming amazing peace, a peace that passes all understanding when the tsunami began. I could feel God’s peace and presence and an assurance that all would be all right even as the waves rolled and the winds roared. That was a wonderful gift.
Now you need to know that was not all I felt in the last few days. I have also had moments of crying, moments of doubt, and some fear, but none of it was overwhelming waves. Yes, there were waves but I was bobbing up and down in them, and for the most part I was keeping my head above water even though the rest of me was wet! That was because I immediately began speaking of the faith I had that God was in control, that He would never leave us nor forsake us. I called my friends to pray, I dug out my scriptures, and I began to speak to the wind and the waves and the storm has gotten better.
As I am writing this there is a hurricane getting ready to hit Texas. There are people there who have heeded the warnings, prepared their homes the best they could, taken their valuables, and left the coast. They will head North to motels or family and friends who will help them. Then there are others, the daredevils, the unprepared, who are willing to weather a storm unprepared at how bad it is going to be. The weather forecasters say that more people get killed after the wind dies down: they die in the rain and flooding afterwards because people are unprepared for how the storm will affect them and they think it is safe as the storm seems over. They aren’t prepared with the right information and wisdom. That happens to Christians too, who know what they should do when the storm hits, but the immediate wind and waves aren’t what cause the most devastation for the long term. Understanding where our strength and peace lie and how to tap into it is what will get us through the long term effects of the storm. For example. when a storm is caused by people (or at least appears to be) or caused by our own misunderstanding of God’s leadings, the problem is not what causes the most damage, but our trust and/or forgiveness of the what or who we are blaming for the storm. Long after the storm our unforgiveness, hatred, offense, or blame of another will linger and cause damage to our very selves. And if that blame or anger is at God it may cause us to leave God out of our lives altogether or at the very least not trust Him with our future, a denial of our faith.
As we clean up the debris after the tsunami we need to take one day at a time and take care of first things first. With so much overwhelming debris it is hard to focus but the Lord will help you bring clarity and order to your work if you look to Him. As He said in Matthew 6:34 “So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.” Focus on what you can do today and let God take care of your future.
Here are some scriptures to help you in times of tsunamis. Place you name in them and claim them for yourself. If you are too overwhelmed to do that, read and pray all of Ps. 27, 34, 46, 91, or 118. They will help you, but what will do the most in your situation is to speak out loud these scriptures as they will build your faith and trust in the Lord and the Word will be sent out to activate His rescue and change in your circumstances. Speak and believe. Trust and receive the salvation of the Lord!
Scriptures for times of tsunami…all are from the Amplified Bible except those marked ESV (English Standard Version)
Ps. 84:11-12 “For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and ‘future’ glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts in You [leaning and believing on You, committing all and confidently looking to You, and that without fear or misgiving]!”
Ps. 34:18 (ESV) “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed spirit.”
Ps. 71:14 “But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.”
Jer. 29:11 “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.”
Rom. 8:28 “We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.”
Phil. 1:6 “And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.”
Heb. 10:23 So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word.”
God is faithful, will never leave us
Ps. 9:9-10 the Lord also will be a refuge and a high tower for the oppressed, a refuge and a stronghold in times of trouble (high cost, destitution, and desperation).
And they who know Your name [who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy] will lean on and confidently put their trust in You, for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek (inquire of and for) You [on the authority of God’s Word and the right of their necessity].”
Heb. 13:5 “Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]: for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
Lord fights for us
Ex. 14:13-14 “Moses told the people. Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again.
The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.”
Ps. 34:7 “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe] and each of them he delivers.”
Ps. 29:11 “The Lord will give [unyielding and impenetrable] strength to His people’ the Lord will bless His people with peace.”
Phil. 4:7 “And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
I Peter 5:6-7 (ESV) “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
Prov. 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the [consistently] righteous man [upright and in right standing with God] runs into it and is safe, high [above evil] and strong.”
Is. 43:2-3 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, not will the flame kindle upon you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior”
Is. 40:29 “He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might. He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound].”
Is. 41:10 “Fear not [there is nothing to fear] for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.”
2 Cor. 12:9 “But He said to me. My grace (MY favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!”
Phil. 4:13 “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].”
Trust the Lord
Ps. 37:3-5 (ESV) “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”
Prov. 3:5-6 (ESV) “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.”
Ps. 27:14 (ESV) “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”
Ps. 46:10 “Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!”
Ps. 46:10 (ESV) Be still, and know that I am God.