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Pressing Into The Storm- Why it’s a Good Thing

Aloha Ladies!   Welcome back.


Today, I feel compelled to share a story that occurred at the beginning of the year. It is a powerful story about how God has been speaking to me. Actually, He's been speaking for over a year about "getting ready," and I’ve been struggling to understand it- not realizing at the time that He was preparing me for a storm. 


This revelation came during our church's first prayer and fasting week of the new year. Our Pastor asked my husband and I to lead prayer night on Wednesday night. We tried to say "no" twice because we had too much on our plates and didn't feel we had adequate time to prepare. But, Pastor wouldn't take no for an answer. So, we agreed, and I procrastinated and delayed. The next thing you know, it's Wednesday morning, and I’m just realizing that I had misunderstood the instructions for what we were supposed to be praying about. So, here is Wednesday morning, and I'm like, oh my goodness, we are supposed to be praying over the entire church for their safety and security, and I’ve got nothing, absolutely nothing!    My husband had a full day with other commitments and couldn't help, so now I'm almost panicking.   I'm like, "Lord, if you want us to be the ones to lead and not only pray over the church but also give an encouraging message, you are going to have to give it to me because I’ve got nothing.”  


I started to consider the church and what we are currently facing in the world.   And I do believe we are living in the end times and that we simply have to look to scripture, it tells us-


“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” Matthew 24:6


Right now,  all we have to do is peek at the news, and we can see the conflicts and the threats, both foreign and domestic. We've got Hamas, Iran, North Korea, China, Russia—war in Israel. We’ve got unprotected borders, division, dysfunction, chaos, fear, and instability in this election year right now in the United States. 


I see that the church and God's people are being targeted physically and spiritually, yet it is the church that God calls to lead. To be the light, to be the hope, to be the example. We are here for such a time as this!   We are in a battle, we are in the valley, we are in the beginning of the storm!   We are the frontline- and we must GET READY.   So, as I was preparing to give this word to the church that Wednesday night, I questioned how to bring forth in encouragement.  


At that moment, God answers with a picture of a bison in a blizzard. I wondered, what in the world does that have to do with anything of this?       


As I researched why the bison was in the blizzard, it began to make perfect sense.    I learned that bison have a unique strategy when facing a storm, particularly the bison in Montana at Yellowstone National Park. If you know anything about Montana, in the wintertime, it's super cold, and their storms come in the negative degrees with fifty-plus mile-an-hour winds. Bison are unlike any other animal- in that most other animals seeing a storm like coming their way they gonna seek shelter, run in the opposite direction, or they may try to hide. Doing everything in their power to avoid the storm. (Much like we do!) Yet not the bison – they do the opposite. They charge headfirst into the storm, moving together united as a herd. They face the storm with solid footing, staying in its center, focused on the light driving them forward, pushing them through. This strategy gives them an advantage as they move through the storm quickly and safely because they limit their exposure time. Pressing directly into the center offers protection because, on the fringe, the winds are far stronger and more dangerous. Much like hurricanes, the hurricane's eye is the calm in the middle of the storm. There's peace in the center, and the bison understand this.


This is what I shared that Wednesday with the congregation that  I see this picture of the bison putting their heads down, pressing directly into the storm unafraid, focused, trusting that they will get through it safely as one. 


This is a powerful picture- a powerful reminder that we must press into adversity with confidence. 


It reminds me of the story of Peter and Jesus walking on the water found in Matthew 14:22-33:


“Immediately, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, and then he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,  and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.


Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.


But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”


“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”


“Come,” he said.


Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”


Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"


And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”


Here we see that the storm raged all around them. Yet, when Jesus arrives, he immediately tells them-


         “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  


Yet Peter is the only one brave enough to step out of the boat and move forward.   


Everything is great when he focuses on Christ.


But, the moment Peter loses focus, when fear creeps in and doubts arise, when he begins to pay more attention to the waves and the storm, that's when he starts to sink!  


Let us learn.   Let us learn from the bison. Learn from Peter.


The Lord should be our focus; He is our light, and He is our leader.   He is our good Shepard an ever-present help in times of trouble!


He calls us to be united – one tribe- one herd – one church. 


As His children, we don't have to fear-  we don't have to hide- we can be bold and courageous whenever adversity comes. We can face absolutely any storm with confidence.


We have a choice-  we can focus on the Lord and not grow weary. We can walk closely to Him and know we already have the victory. We can face the future believing that the best is ahead of us!  


Boldness.   Courage.   To not react to our fears- this is the year of breakthrough. 


That's what I delivered to the church that Wednesday night. Do you know what happened the very next day?   We received some very disappointing news.   We had been praying like crazy, believing in a miracle, one that would have prevented my husband from having to have neurosurgery.   Instead of God answering that prayer and delivering a miraculous healing- one that I believed all He had to do was breathe on my husband, and he would be healed. No, instead, the very next day, we received terrible news with swiftly developing symptoms that were threatening to take my husband's legs- paralysis.   At that moment, I  crumpled in disappointment, and as women surrounded me at church, they prayed, and I cried; I heard the Lord whisper to me-- "Remember what I just gave you, Noelle-  you are the bison heading into the storm. I need you to press in."


That whole message, I thought, was for the church, was for me and my husband FIRST. The storm was here and it was big, and it was time to press in and walk in faith with eyes focused clearly on Jesus.


Do you know what happened?   God showed up like never before! He showed us favor upon favor, upon favor. By the very next morning, the neurosurgeon told us that if we could get to Oahu by Wednesday, he would do emergency surgery on Thursday.   He would do whatever it takes to get it done, including circumventing insurance approval.


That week, we pressed, believing that God would go before us and make a way. He would cause every person we encounter to show us favor, and boy, did they! Going above and beyond time and time again. I could sit and recount example after example and sing His praises to you, but I want to respect your time! Just know that everything went so perfectly that my husband was released the very next day following surgery, and we were back home by Saturday!


Now, how do we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was all the Lord?

Because, through it all, we had a peace that blanketed us. An indescribable peace that didn't make any sense. We got to experience Philippians 4:7- "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


I saw in all of this that God was doing a miracle- He was answering our prayers for complete healing, it just didn't look like what I thought it should. It was a complicated, intricate, beautiful tapestry that He was working to not only heal my husband but, in the process, He was also refining me because I had to give over my control, I had to lay down my idols, I had to walk in faith and trust Him every step of the way. I had to trust Him with my husband, myself, our marriage, our future—every step I needed to press into the storm.


That's what He is asking for all of us- to get ready.   We must focus on Christ- no matter what the storms in our lives look like.   


We will all face storms in this lifetime. Today, I pray those that hear my voice- hear my testimony that you will trust in the Lord and boldly press in and hear the Lord say to you…. 


Take courage, my love! I am with you- you don't need to be afraid! Just take my hand and walk with me.


It’s that easy when you understand and appreciate who the Lord really is…. 

Isaiah 40 reminds us:


Do you not know?    Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning?    Have you not understood since the earth was founded? 22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,  and spreads them out like a tent to live in. 23 He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. 24 No sooner are they planted,  no sooner are they sown,  no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

25 “To whom will you compare me?  Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:  Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength,  not one of them is missing.

Do you not know?  Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord  will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.


Ladies, we have a mighty King on the throne who has overcome and is seated above it all!   All circumstances, concerns, worries, challenges, fears, and problems!  


He calls us to see Him as that powerful, majestic King- to raise our gaze and see Him as He is now.   Not that baby in the manager, not the man hanging on the cross, not the one restricted to a grave.  No!   The all-powerful, mighty King seated on the throne at the right hand of God the Father.  With all of heaven and earth beneath His feet! 


Nothing in all of creation can compare to His glory!  


So, ladies be like the bison, be like Peter.  Be like me.


Be bold, AND remember there is no storm too big or too dark that we cannot pass through safely because the Light of the World – the King of Glory is with us!









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