Gazing to the west, billowing clouds form. As they creep nearer, the sky darkens, the wind picks up, and the rumbling lyrics play increasingly louder until it’s right above me. Sitting on the front porch watching, I wait – it’s only a matter of time until it blows over.
Thunderstorms cross the prairies from the west, inching eastward like a wall. While the winds, the lightning and hail enclose in a frenzy, you know on the other side there are sunny skies.
For many of us, this is how we envision the progression of our stormy circumstances. The weather surges powerfully, it’s unstable for a while, but there’s anticipation of the calm once it’s over.
This season, however, hasn’t finished yet. It feels more like a perpetual tornado, with forceful winds constantly circulating around us. Going to the grocery store, out for coffee, or on social media, we’re pounded repeatedly with messages “for” or “against.” You can hardly hide from it. Stay off your phone, tucking yourself inside the shell safely like a turtle, until your head pops out for a moment to talk with someone and if they don’t bring it up, to your surprise, you do!
It’s frustrating and discouraging, drifting us toward despair, wishing it could all just be over so we could get on with life. But this is life. These are people. Usually they’re our people.
An interesting thing about tornadoes (and tropical storms) is the calm place in the centre, the eye of the storm. The winds are ferocious all around, tossing dirt and objects off their foundation, yet there’s a stillness in the middle so unlike the outside, it’s a wonder to even be there.
So, how do we find this place of calm and rest within our minds and hearts in these times of upheaval?
By believing God is who he says is, and we are who he says we are.
“Though the mountains move and the hills shake,
my love will not be removed from you
and my covenant of peace will not be shaken,”
says your compassionate Lord.” (Is 54:10)
Our surrounding landscape seems to shake and wobble, but God’s love for us is steadfast and unchanging even when the world isn’t-especially then. His covenant of peace with those who love and follow him has not broken, for the price of our sin is paid, our redemption is secure, and we’re confidently sealed with his Spirit.
Yet, in the meantime, we’re plagued with fallible emotions, tempting us to find truth in the proclamations of the world instead of the Word, fixing our eyes on what is seen rather than what’s unseen. The prophet Isaiah reminds us, “the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable” (Is 40:28). Let’s remember who he is.
By putting our thoughts on the truth of his Word
Do you find your thoughts and worries looping incessantly like a song on repeat?
Anxiety can hold a tight grip on us, but there are times we can choose to get off the worry train toward, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil 4:8). It may not always be this simple, but by the grace of God, it could be.
It could also mean taking time away from scrolling and instead developing habits of reading and meditating on scripture, or listening to biblical teaching on a podcast. The effect of what we’re feeding our minds is coming out in this thick web, but we can start to practice a healthy diet.
By pouring out love on others
Are you spending time around someone who’s opinions are different from yours?
It could be at work, in your family, or in your church. Opposing views are prevalent. When these are our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can express love and appreciation because we’re created in God’s image and resting in his grace. When it’s a struggle, pray, “for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). Depend on the Father to fill your heart with love, that you can serve and fellowship united in his Spirit.
The ravaging storm of our culture would have us toss about and uproot us from our foundation, but because of the gospel, the good news of our Lord Jesus, we can proclaim “I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Ps 18:1-2).
May God’s grace lead you toward the eye of the storm as you trust in him.