Isaiah 61:3 ~
… and they might be called
trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD,
that He might be glorified.
It bows and quakes as the wind blows violently. Tossed and twisted with each gust, waiting to snap in two, yet it yields. Then the calm takes over. The outward appearance proves quite tattered and torn. Inwardly, its hidden substance is frayed and fractured where no one can see. Once again it remains standing. Mending begins. Healing flows into and over every raw, torrent-lashed fiber.
The lesson in the storm: bend.
How many times in my life have I come to the place that I thought I would just break right in two? I cannot count them. Honestly, there have been times that I wanted to just break and be done. End it right now! Oh, the dread of the storm! I can truly say that I have never welcomed the forecast of gloom and doom associated with the hard places. I want smooth sailing on every horizon. But, we all know that is not possible, not in this lifetime.
Storms have purpose in our lives. Storms bring pain. Storms get our attention. Often, although sad to say, storms are the only way that the LORD can get our undivided gaze upon Him. Our first love, how we get so distracted, so diverted from following Him. So the storms roll in and once again, He hears our cry for rescue. Hopefully, with every interaction of being tossed and shaken we will embrace the lesson of learning to bend.
Pain. No one wants it. Suffering. Nope, no sign-up sheet for that. No one raising their hand to take that offer. Let’s be honest, anything and everything that comes against our neat and tidy plans, schedules and agendas, we immediately plan our attack. S.T.O.P. Do not come any closer. Our danger signals go off, you know the ones with the red flashing lights? Yeah, those. Society tries to sell us a remedy for everything: avoid it, escape it, or prevent it. We work to avoid suffering. We want to escape the brokenness, even if it means stuffing it away, hiding it with the pretense that it will just miraculously disappear. But our pain, our brokenness, our loneliness all have purpose. These are the raw and real places that the LORD uses to make us like Him. In the moment, all we can see are the elements raging against us. But if we are truly His – pain in suffering will bring us to our knees and tune our heart to cry out to Him, for only He can heal all that is broken and bleeding. He knows all too well about suffering. He was bent in the greatest of sufferings … for us. He has proven Himself faithful. Only He can be trusted with our pain.
Bending is bowing to His Presence, submitting to His authority, and trusting in His Sovereignty.
The lesson in bending: HE IS!
- He is my Father controlling the storm and in His arms I find refuge.
- He is LOVE that works in every area of my life, even those areas that I never even consider.
- He is PATIENT… lonnnnngggggggsuffering, for time is His and never rushed.
- He is “making” me and taking me … there is always a plan and purpose.
- He is always PRESENT – any distance is mine, so what will I do with that?
Through bending our perception changes. While we gaze upon Him the storms seem to weaken. The presence of the storm will leave its mark, but its strength will be diminished with time, life and growth. Each storm, each bend … has brought change in my life. Some of the changes are obvious to anyone looking on, but then there are those that only He can see. He calls them ‘good.’ There have been prayers, deep and sometimes scary, offered up in the darkest moments. Would I have prayed them outside of the storm? No, I couldn’t. My pain poured out and gave life to those prayers. Have they been answered? Not all of them, but He is still working after the storm. So in bending, I wait. In bending … I trust. And in bending … I KNOW that HE IS!
What storm is raging and beating against you today? Are you using every ounce of effort to stand tall? Learn to bend. While everything around you is being tossed and twisted, rest in knowing that HE IS! Cry out to Him and release. Just let go. There is not one thing that has taken Him by surprise. He can speak and calm the storm. But if He allows the storm to persist and rage, take comfort in knowing that He is holding you as you learn to bend.
Psalm 34:19, 22 ~ Many are the afflictions of the righteous:
but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants:
and none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate.
LORD, pour in that I may be poured out!