Disclaimer: Though I wrote this post with my own struggles in mind, I kept it quite vague, as I think that it is quite applicable to all of us going through storms in life. Some storms pass, while others leave lasting marks, but God is with us through it all.
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This phrase makes the difficulties in life sound so delightful. Like “Here, enjoy a free citrus fruit! Make a cool, sweet summer drink. Enjoy!” “When it rains, it pours,” sounds more accurate… though as of lately I’d like the mix the two [with several shots of tequila] “When it rains, it pelts lemons, and you think what in the world is going on?!”
I want to share a little insight from the boat within the storm. These past couple weeks have been emotional chaos for me. Life generally has its ups and downs for me – car is making funny sounds, working a great job, laptop hard drive dies, spending time with amazing friends, traveling and then stopping. Something hit me out of nowhere. We’ll call it a lemon, a rather large lemon unlike any lemon I had ever seen before.
Now Jesus is in the boat with me, but he’s sleeping. How can he be sleeping?!?!?! It’s like a tornado and a hurricane and is the earth quaking too? And I’ve suddenly realized I don’t actually know how to navigate a ship! And am I all alone? So there goes my life as a fisherman, and I was just getting good too! I’m literally going to lose everything to this storm. I curl into a ball and cry, and then I fall asleep.
I wake up and it’s still storming. I start wondering how I could let this happen, why wasn’t I paying more attention to the weather? Why did Jesus let me get into this boat knowing that a storm was approaching? Do I really need to learn another lesson the hard way? Is life always this hard? Will it just get harder and harder with time? My anxiety and fear and disappointment take over… and then out of the corner of my eye, I see movement… lots of movement. How did I miss this?
I’m not alone at all. The boat is swarming with people, trying to help the boat stay afloat during the storm. Some are falling off the edge and are waiting to be helped back up. Someone helps me up. It is Jesus. He tells me he’s got this. He’s in control. He needs me to help. ‘But what about my lemon Lord? It’s rather large, and I’ve never seen anything like it before…’ He reminds me that he is in control, and he wants me to help him by helping the others.
So this is a rather vague description, but it is what I’ve been learning in the past couple weeks. Life throws out so many lemons, and we can’t let them stop us from living and serving. I’ve found myself so wrapped up in my troubles and worries, that I forget to pray for others and listen to them. I find myself lost in my own thoughts. Usually, I put myself in a box of ‘Worst Case Scenarios” and dwell there much too long. When things are going right, it’s easy to believe that God has a plan and that he is ever present, but when things are going terribly wrong, he tends to feel so distant.
I think it’s important to remember that whatever life throws your way, good and bad, that God is with us. That it’s not about us, but that doesn’t lessen the depth of God’s love for us.
Sometimes we need to be carried a ways. Sometimes we need to be held. Sometimes we must ask for help, over and over again. Sometimes we must take the harder, more difficult and strenuous path. Sometimes we know that God is present, but we don’t feel it. Sometimes our burdens are too heavy. Sometimes we have to seek peace several times a day, because fears and anxieties sneak in. Sometimes we have to listen to our fears and anxieties, because they are there to teach us something. Sometimes we have to pray on our knees and literally cry out to our Savior. Sometimes we need to be reminded that this life is not our own. That God is all-present, all-powerful and all-knowing. Sometimes God gives us more than we can handle, but he never allows us to handle it alone. He never leaves our side, through the good and the bad, he is present. Even in the darkest of dark, he shines light. And it is in the moments of darkness, that we so desperately need the light.
Seek the light.
Seek ye first the kingdom.
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” – Matthew 6:30-33 [MSG]
I also like to remember that God is good, and God is love – and love is self-less, patient, kind, always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres and never fails.