Sunday, March 4, 2012

Praise You In This Storm

I'm still reflecting on "The Shack" from last week, specifically that question...why is there so much suffering in the world?  Why do horrible tragedies happen to innocent people, to people that love God?  I mentioned last week that I really struggled with the beginning of the book, the horror, the nightmare of any parent, the kidnap and murder of a child.  Our world is filled with these horrors.  Sometimes, likely more than we are aware, God intercedes to save us from them, and others it seems that He does not.  Sometimes we witness miracles, and other times the miracles that we pray for don't come.

The last time I shared this song with someone was when there was a little boy in my town that had been diagnosed with a very rare cancer, and his chances were not good.  I shared this song with his parents, though I have no idea if they listened to it.  I wanted his parents to know that in times like these, God is still with us and we should cling to Him.  This week's song is "Praise You in this Storm," by Casting Crowns.

I'm delighted to say that in the case of the little boy in my home town, a miracle eventually happened, and hundreds of prayers were answered the way that we hoped they would be. This boy and his family did endure a year long storm before this miracle was experienced. As I reflect on my reactions to this book I've recently read, I'm recalling the many storms that I have witnessed or learned of over the last few years.  Babies lost, the deaths of young adults with so much more to give the world, attempted suicide, divorce, disease, a child's life seriously altered by abuse.  Some of these storms are due to the sins of people, others have no known reason. And so the big question could God allow this to happen?

I like how Mark Hall introduces the song, saying that "sometimes He calms the storms in our lives, and sometimes He just rides them with us." I know it's so frustrating to not be able to understand why He chooses the latter.  I don't have the answer.  It can feel like God has abandoned us, but I do think it's so important for all of us to realize that He is still with us experiencing the storm with us.

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

If you're in a storm right now, may you realize that God is right there with you feeling your pain.  He has suffered this pain before, and he will get you through it.  Allow him to hold you and comfort you.  And for those who are not currently in a storm, I pray that when the time comes, you will remember these words and not run from God, but hold Him closer than ever.

I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Matthew 28:20

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