2006-04-25 - God of the Storms
Dana and I told our pastor that we would be leaving when he could get us replaced, and off we went. As we left the safe harbor and got into the boat, all I still saw was those nasty dark gray storm clouds. Nevertheless, I knew we needed to do what God wanted us to do. I knew God wanted me in the boat; I knew he wanted me to go to the other shore. Nevertheless, I could not see past the storm clouds. Those storm clouds looked so very ominous, and I kept running around with a bucket in hand just in case I needed to bail water. I kept repeatedly checking the knots holding down the sails. I just kept panicking. Meanwhile, right in the boat with us, Jesus slept on.
Jordan would be the first to be thrown overboard, so I worried about him. Dana and I were both afraid that Jordan would not adjust to a new church, as he had only known of the one his whole life. When we visited churches though, Jordan did remarkably well each time. As Dana and I selected a new home, we both did our best to keep him involved in the decision. We didn't want to find a home for us that he hated to go to, so his happiness was one priority wherever we went. There was never a problem for him, and he loves going to the one we chose as a church home. That was a good sign for us. Sometimes Doppler radars pick up things incorrectly, and the Jordan storm downpour never happened. Those clouds just vanished.
But I knew the storm of shyness would shipwreck us. It took Dana almost two years at our church to warm up and want to join. Two years this time would be a life sentence of bench duty for me. After a month of visiting, we went to a second church with some good friends. Their church was pretty good, but we realized we missed the one we had been visiting. Dana and I had found a new home at East Newnan. It still took Dana several weeks, but she is warming up to people. She is more active in music, playing her flute even more, helping out with it in both a contemporary and traditional morning service. She's volunteered for VBS and keeps saying she wants to check out a few of the women's activities. This was another storm I predicted that never managed to capsize the boat.
The real ominous one still raged on. Undoubtedly, this last push of the storm would vanquish me. It definitely had the potential to do just that. I was terrified of being sidelined indefinitely with what I knew God wanted me to do - serve his body by helping it grow in the Word. After all, I knew any church we visited would already have people in place doing every last thing I could do. We announced our decision to leave the our church home, and I stepped down as deacon, Sunday school teacher, bible study teacher for adults and youth, bulletin publisher / devotional writer, preschool church leader and other little duties. The lightning streaked across the sky, and the roaring thunder sent shivers down my spine. Our readers have told us they read smaller paragraphs more easily, so I broke this up. : )
The boat was taking on some water now from those huge waves. I just knew the mast would be struck any minute. For my sake, God gave me a little glimpse of light, a little hole in the storm clouds. That same day, I received an e-mail from a woman named Jan asking me to consider writing once a week for Christian Fellowship Devotionals. Jesus just smiled and said, "See I know what I'm doing. You were content writing for 60, but now you reach a hundred-fold. Let's go to the other shore." Maybe this little boat could weather the storm, but I kept bailing water just the same.
The boat kept afloat and we began visiting another local church. The storm intensified and the winds wailed louder as the skies grew darker; we were not just visiting another church but a much bigger church. A bigger church would have tons of people doing everything and probably even have back-ups for them all. They would have no need for someone like me. I was wrong. Late in November, before we even joined, the youth pastor asked me to lead a small group on Wednesday nights for the high school boys. I had even had some early talks about working with children. Since joining, there have been several opportunities to help with the younger kids including coaching soccer, helping with preschoolers once a month during the church service and teaching Vacation Bible School. But this new church was a much larger church, with multiple services and multiple pastors on staff I felt like, I would likely not get to preach again. The boat passed through that storm too, because on March 29, I was able to speak on a Wednesday Night. Now that may be small potatoes to some, but it was when I was asked to do it as if, Jesus himself arose, rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, "Peace, be still." And there was a great calm.
When Dana, Jordan, and I decided God was leading us away from our old church I wasn't sure what for. It was scary and I had some fears as did Dana but we knew following God was better than being safe. Months later, I am glad we made the change, but through it I wish I had just been like Jesus and slept. Each storm cloud I saw never endangered my boat. I heard someone once say that no boat with God in it was ever lost. Through this event, I have learned to trust the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit even more. My faith has grown, and now I know the "what for". He wanted my faith to see beyond the right now and learn simply to trust him fully. God wanted my faith to grow by knowing that he is the God of all storms and all tomorrows.
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted
BTW - I post a written version of each message God gives me the privilege to preach. I write it from the same notes I speak by so the two are not identical, but should be very similar in content. If you would like to read the March 29 message, you can on my personal site at http://www.msnusers.com/TheCainFamilyGeorgia/weddingfeast.msnw