In the Path of the Storm
Sometimes we cry out to God to still the storm but the storm came anyway. The devastation was beyond description:
- Trees stripped bare,
- Houses blown away leaving only stairwells and inner closets standing,
- Cars deposited in trees,
- Bits and pieces of people’s lives scattered among the sticks of their homes,
- All shining under a sky now clear of menacing clouds and stirred by gentle breezes that bore no resemblance to the tornado last night.
Rubble, wild and unattached pieces of a puzzle that was too real to be unreal, was all that was left of the beautiful, carefully planned and constructed neighborhood.
The storm did not care for the plans or the people or their places to live.
It roared through the darkness on its own path, doing its deadly work sweeping away the structures and scattering the lives of the people in them.
In the morning, the survivors picked through the rubble looking for something they could use as a starting place for the re-build. You see, these people loved their homes. Their affections were not blown away by the storm. In this they were like the people of Jerusalem where their homes were destroyed by their enemies.
“For your servants love her very rubble, and are moved to pity even for her dust.”
When there was nothing left but rubble and dust, they loved the rubble and dust.
In time, the dead were buried, the injured recovered, the houses were rebuilt and the only traces of the night of destruction are the rubble of dreams, the memories of the sickening silence that followed the roar, the dim morning light that revealed the rubble.
There are others storms that do not roar.
There are winds of other kinds whose paths are filled with the rubble of the soul:
- Houses destroyed by debt,
- Lives wrecked by addiction,
- Families broken by unfaithfulness, and
- Hearts shattered by betrayal.
Though not as visible as the rubble a tornado leaves behind, if we could see into hearts and minds, this ruination of the soul would be even more disturbing. There is no insurance, no check coming in the mail to rebuild. This is rubble that will remain—until…
Until Jesus comes on the scene.
He is not only the Master Builder—He is the Master Re-builder of destroyed lives. He loves us and when our hearts are broken, He feels the pain. When we walk through the rubble that was once our lives, His arm is around our shoulders, holding us up. He helps us find the strange little things that somehow survived the storm to pop up from the rubble. Each cup and saucer, toy and knick-knack we find lifts our spirits—if these things can survive so can we! This may only be rubble and dust, but it is our rubble and dust and we love it.
We know somehow that Jesus loves the rubble and dust of our lives, too, and He is the One with the plans and the power to rebuild them. When we cry out to God to still the storm but the storm comes anyway, it is not the end. In His grace it is a new beginning.
But you, O Lord, endure forever, and your Name from age to age. You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to have mercy upon her; indeed, the appointed time has come. For your servants love her very rubble, and are moved to pity even for her dust. The nations shall fear your Name, O Lord, and all the kings of the earth your glory. For the Lord will build up Zion, and his glory will appear. He will look with favor on the prayer of the homeless; he will not despise their plea. Let this be written for a future generation, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord. For the Lord looked down from his holy place on high; from the heavens he beheld the earth; That he might hear the groan of the captive and set free those condemned to die; That they may declare in Zion the Name of the Lord, and his praise in Jerusalem; When the peoples are gathered together, and the kingdoms also, to serve the Lord. … O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands; They shall perish, but you will endure; they all shall wear out like a garment; as clothing you will change them, and they shall be changed; But you are always the same, and your years will never end. The children of your servants shall continue, and their offspring shall stand fast in your sight.”
Isaiah 58:9-14 NIV
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Psalm 71:19-21 NIV
Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you? Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.
Lord Jesus, You never promised us a life without storms. You were careful to say that if we built our lives on You as the Sure Foundation, that when the storms come our lives will stand the punishment. Yet, there are times when the storms are so severe that You, the Foundation of our lives, are all that is left. Even then, it is enough in Your capable, carpenter’s hands—You will rebuild us. You will take the rubble and make it useful and beautiful again, a strong structure ready for the next storm. Thank You, Jesus!
I Will Serve Thee
Words and Music: William J. Gaither
I will serve Thee, because I love Thee.
You have given life to me.
I was nothing before You found me.
You have given life to me.
Heartaches, broken pieces, ruined lives are
Why You died on Calvary.
Your touch was what I longed for.
You have given life to me.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved