The sky turns ominously dark- shades of blue and purple spread across the horizon. Thunder rolls deep in the distance and a beautiful summer day turns quickly into an unexpected storm.
Such is life in the Carolinas during the month of August. August storms can either be welcomed to squelch the heat or cursed when summer fun is ruined. On this particular day, I welcomed the storm. I sat on my sofa overlooking the wall of windows that gives me a front seat view to my backyard and I watched the sky, the wind, the rain. As the storm developed, I watched as all the little creatures scurried for shelter.
Just when I least expected it… a tiny female hummingbird flew quickly into view and perched prominently on a deck post right in front of me. The rain poured down and the little hummer continued to sit, seemingly unaffected by the storm raging all around her. Then she did the most curious thing… she raised her beak high into the air, puffed up her chest (turning herself into a little fluff ball) and spread her wings wide, flapping them in rapid bursts and gloriously enjoyed a rain induced “bath.”
I watched with delight as she relished each rain drop, raising and lowering her head, puffing, flapping and savoring the experience. I’ve often noticed that hummingbirds love to fly in the rain but I’ve never before experienced them bathing (especially with such abandon).
As I watched this little hummingbird the thought struck me- that while all the other creatures hid from the storm, the little hummer saw it as an opportunity to take a delightful afternoon "shower."
Oftentimes, our tendency is to view life’s trials and troubles like storms -- storms brewing on the horizon that we see as threatening and we try to run, to seek shelter and hide; hoping that it will pass over quickly. We try to “weather” the storm and hope it doesn’t do lasting damage. We despise the storms and instead always wish for sunny days.
What if, like the hummingbird, we viewed the storms differently? Seeing the storms instead as beneficial and an opportunity for cleansing and renewal?
The Bible tells us to “Count it all joy, my brothers (and sisters) when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full affect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.” - James 1:2-5
I’ve always found the story of Jesus walking on water to be fascinating. Not necessarily because He walked on water but because of what happened leading up to the miracle…..
GOD SENT THE STORM.
Matthew 14:22-33 tells us that after Jesus fed over 5,000 people with only 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread (miracle) he then made the Disciples “get back in the boat and cross to the other side of the water”- ALONE.
Jesus knew full well where He was sending them and He knew full well that a terrible storm was brewing!
I believe He sent the storm to test their faith. Right when they were cowering and afraid, with the waves crashing over them Jesus walks across the water directly to them!
What is their response? They scream in terror!
They certainly didn’t see the storm as a good thing and they certainly didn’t appreciate that God was right there with them. (Really? They didn’t recognize the guy who just hours before performed a crazy miracle of feeding thousands with leftovers? )
If you know the remainder of the story, Jesus has to identify himself and admonish them to not be afraid. Peter then walks on water with Jesus in the midst of the storm and when he begins to doubt and sink Jesus rescues him and calms the storm.
Folks, my take away from all of this-
It’s about perception.
It’s about recognizing the source,
And, it’s about trusting.
We need to consider that sometimes God sends storms in our lives to test us, to train us, to cleanse us and to empower us. Even storms that are of our own making or storms that come because we live in a broken world, God can use them to our benefit.
God already knows the storm and He already knows His plan to be right there with you in the middle of it!
If you will trust in Him, keep your eyes on Him, believe that He won’t let you sink and He is capable of calming any storm-- then your whole viewpoint changes. You can become like the hummingbird and fearlessly appreciate the storm with joy and thanksgiving, knowing that God will use it for good to cleanse and renew you.
So, when was the last time you played carefree in a rainstorm?
When was the last time that you saw a trial or difficulty in your life as a good thing?
ISN'T IT ALL IN OUR PERSPECTIVE?
I’m praying that when we see the dark clouds hovering we have a new perspective- we don’t cower and fear rather we rejoice that the God who loves us is with us during the storms. That through our faith we can give thanks for the rain knowing that in the end when the storm finally passes we will be perfect and complete-lacking nothing!
“Yet when they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, the Lord brought them out of their distress. He calmed the storm and its waves quieted down. So they rejoiced that the waves became quite, and He led them to their desired haven. Let them gives thanks to the Lord for His gracious love and for His awesome deeds to them.”- Psalm 107:28-31