Thursday, May 1, 2014

After the Storms Rage … the Light Shines

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Everyone's talking about the storms. The tornados that wrecked homes and wreaked havoc. Everyone has a story about where they were, what they saw, what they were left with when the skies finally cleared.

And one little face with honest brown eyes and a sweet voice tells me, "Mrs. Tally, that tornado? It blew away my favorite tree…"

All innocence shatters when you realize that there are very big things in this world we simply cannot control.

I think it's often expected for people to ask why in moments like this. In moments when you find everything broken and shattered around you. In moments when strength fails and you have to dig deep for the reasons to keep on keepin' on.

Then, there's the other side to this experience. There's this side that shows people, reaching within and pouring out everything they can to help others. There are people storming the streets to lend a hand, and others cooking everything they have in their kitchens to share with those who no longer have a stove. Facebook buzzes with invitations for places to sleep for the night. Hands extend from every home, every social media outlet.

As I observe it all, the thought occurs to me… this could be a glimpse of His kingdom here. 

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me… Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." ~Matthew 25:35-36, 40

This… all of this… Christ's hands and feet reaching out in all directions to pick op debris and gather pieces of the lives of those they love. Right now, instead of falling apart, people are praising Him, even in this storm -possibly the greatest storm of their lives.
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Maybe -just maybe- in these why-do-bad-things-happen moments, our hearts are at their most broken, and yet also their very best. It's a bold thought, isn't it? To think that we are made better, even amid all this destruction?

Source: Ann Voskamp, Facebook share
Last night, as I read through so many messages of encouragement and hope and offers of relief, I just thought, what if this is how we lived all the time. What if every day was a relief-effort, searching for hearts hurting and homes in need of healing…

What if we lived every day as in the aftermath of a storm?

After all, there are times in which hearts hurt and homes fall apart even without the wrath of nature.

These thoughts convict me as I find myself searching far more than normal for ways to help, ways to serve. Where is this person in me, on a "normal" day? 

Is it only during the storms that I find myself?

I have been so humbled by the outpouring of praise here, people counting not what they have lost -though the losses are great - but instead, embracing their lives and loved ones that remain. Could it be that it really isn't about what we lose during times like this? Maybe it's more about the glimpse of Christ we gain, if we can look beyond the rubble to see it in those outstretched hands, lifting the brokenness, holding the hurt.

"I cling to you; your right hand upholds me." ~Psalm 63:8

After the initial "bad news," that sweet voice continued… "But you know what? There's still sort of half of the tree there. I've been thinking that maybe I can just play with that part from now on." 

And just like that, hope prevails.

"When the storm has swept by… the righteous stand firm forever." ~Proverbs 10:25