God Is My Strength

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This week's post comes from Kassie at Guiding Light From His Word

(Acts 27:13-15 NIV)
When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they
had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.
Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the "northeaster," swept down from the island.
The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind;
so we gave way to it and were driven along.

When we are hit with storms in this life, it is important to anchor our self to the One who is stable and can not be moved. It is a must for us to keep our focus on Him who calls us to "come." There is more to it than just the standard phrase of "you can either sink or swim..." Sometimes He calls us to have the faith to walk on water.

One morning back in the middle of November of this last year, as I write this, I went to take my dogs out back. As I was chaining our one dog up, I felt the slightest breeze brush across my face. I remember smiling and looking up and taking a deep breath. Though the sun was shining, there was a definite chill in the air, not really cold but pretty nipping. And in the quietness of my heart I heard, "A Northeaster is blowing." I remember smiling and kinda laughing to myself, the soft breeze was nothing like a northeaster, so I chalked my thoughts up to being silly. About two hours later, I got on my computer to load the "Wednesday's with Beth" series I like to watch. As it came on, I curled up with my hot tea, notepad and Bible and got ready to be inspired. As the show Beth started introducing what she would be speaking about, and asked the viewers to turn to Acts 27 and look at verses 13-20. I hadn't quite gotten my Bible opened when I heard as she started talking about the Northeaster Storm that Paul was about to hit! Now needless to say I was speechless! I paused the program, opened up my Bible software and did a search for the word "Northeaster" to see how many times it talks about this. ONE time! It comes up exactly ONE time in the entire Bible-- and it just happened to be what Beth was teaching on this day! I got on my knees and asked God to open my ears to whatever it was He was trying to show me, and help me to understand His message He had for me. I also thanked Him for getting my attention.

Three weeks later the beginning of my storm hit, and when it did, it felt like the rug had been pulled out from underneath me, and I had been hit in the gut. For forty solid days all I could do was focus on breathing. The first thing that happened hurt so much that all I wanted to do was double over. After that it was as if someone had opened up the flood gates, because everything came colliding in from all directions right on top of me. There were some days I would open up my notebook and look at some of the things I had jotted down that morning in November, and I would go back and read Acts 27:13-44 over and over again. I would go and sit in my special prayer spot and just put my head down, and try to listen to God, but it seemed like there was nothing but silence in the midst of this all. I had to remind myself that God had warned me that I would hit a storm. I had to keep going back to those notes I had taken, and the indepth study I had done on Acts 27, and the storm that Paul went through. After many days I could say I knew exactly what it meant in verse 20 when it says, "When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved."

Instead of things getting better for me, it seemed as if everything went from bad to worse. In tears I would read out loud verses 22-25,  "But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.' So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island." Also, this is where I need to state that during this time, I haven't been able to write. When I work on these devotionals, or any writing projects, I spend a lot of time in prayer and studying. It is very important to me that when I write-- it is "God's Message" I feel I am sharing and not just my own words. So you might have noticed that there have been days when I did not post a devotional, or if I did, it was something I had written before calamity struck.

It has now been three months since my storm hit. Has my situation changed? In some ways, not really. He hasn't taken the ache from my side, but in other ways I can say that the pounding waves from all directions have let up, and like Paul I think I have "run aground on some island." However, at this point, I am happy for dry land. I can actually smile now and remind myself that a few years ago while I was getting ready to start writing, "The Very Heart of Worship" I prayed that God would give me faith to walk on water. I am here to tell you, I think He heard me! Now in saying this, I know that there will be some who will say, "Well be careful what you pray for..." but the thing is when we pray according to GOD'S WILL we can know it will be done. So apparently my prayer was according to His Will, and when the storm hit Jesus said, "Come." 

The reason I share all this with you today is really NOT to depress you, but to tell you that through this all; God's Word has proven true. He really does bind up the broken hearted. He really does give strength to the weary. In the evenings I have walked up to the top floor of my office and watched the sun go down, and it is as if God has said, "I really am bigger, and I have been here before." So often in the mornings as I take my youngest son to school, and I look out at the beautiful sky, I am reminded that His mercies are made new each day. And when He says, "My grace is sufficient," I have found that He really does hold you up. And each day, I have found renewed strength to take another step. I can honestly say that I have found that when I get the to very end of me, and I have absolutely NOTHING LEFT-- I find that God is there to do so much more. And I have found hope in "That all things are possible to those who believe." God truly has been my strength to get through. My friend, He will do the same for you.

My friend, if you are reading this devotional, then apparently you are not dead. So take comfort in the fact that because you are still breathing-- no matter how hard that breath may be to take-- God is not done. He is not finished with you yet, and each morning when you rise, know His mercies are made new, and there is still hope. He will give you strength to take yet another step until He gets you where He wants you to be, and until you come into ALL that He has for you. Remember that the one who calls you is Faithful. It is by HIS power, and not your strength, that mountains will move and obstacles will crumble, and a path for you will be made.

Father God, thank You that You warn us of things to come. We just need but listen. Thank you for guiding us, and being with us. Thank You for holding us up, and seeing us through. Thank You Lord for Your strength and mercies that are extended to us each day. Lord, we praise You for  Your faithfulness and being a good God. Lord, we praise You for being our God. Lord, please be with this reader come what may, and help them to know You are by their side..
In Christ Jesus Name,

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