Peace in the Storms: Learning to Trust
As I am writing this I am 30,000 feet in the air overlooking towering clouds and a blue sky. It is interesting how you get a whole new perspective being on top of the clouds. A storm is happening below, but 30,000 feet in the air it is peaceful.
Time after time when I am stuck in a stormy season I forget that there can still be peace. I remember the story of the disciples on a boat when a storm came through and the winds and the waves were overtaking them. Then there is Jesus. Who was sleeping peacefully. All while the disciples were freaking out. The disciples quickly woke Jesus up and asked Him, “Do you not care if we drown?” How many times have I questioned God if He really cared? If God really cared, then why did I get bullied at school? If God really cared, then why did a good friend of mine pass away? If God really cared, then why do I feel so trapped? I find myself questioning God in my stormy seasons time after time again just like the disciples. What happened next though was truly remarkable. Jesus stood up and rebuked the wind and the waves and suddenly there was peace. The amount of relief the disciples felt must have been overwhelming.
However, Jesus then asked them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” What fears do I have? Well, earlier in life I was afraid of the dark. Growing up, I was afraid I wouldn’t have any close friends. In college, I was afraid of doing something that drained me spiritually and physically. Today, I am afraid that I have lost my connection to God. This is probably one of the biggest reasons I wanted to start writing. It is something that helps me dig deep, and really ask myself what I am doing. Doing this publically I hope will not only hold me accountable with striving to grow my relationship with God but help someone like me ask these same questions. That they will dig deep in themselves to help them grow with God. I don’t have it all together. Almost seven years into my relationship with God, I still have fears, and I still question my faith. However, God is changing me from the inside out. If you are stuck in a storm right now, below is an excerpt from my testimony that I hope will provide some comfort and peace. That what happened to me a couple years ago will happen to you because after this moment my view of God and His plan was a 30,000 feet view. He saved us from our selfishness and brokenness, so hang in there because He still has extraordinary things to do with you.
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The summer was 2013, and I just completed my freshman year of college. I grew up very independent, but college still was a tremendous difference than being at home. I was in a season of life that had me questioning every part of my faith. I was feeling like I could not trust God completely. I was struggling with my true identity and questioning a lot of things that happened when I was in middle school and high school. It was difficult to think that God could completely change me, and thus I spent the year between reading the Bible/Church and questioning if I am even a believer. However, I still decided to apply for summer staff with YoungLife where I spent 21 days at a camp where high school students would hear the Gospel at their level just like I did a few years before. I didn’t know at the time of applying that I would meet some of my best friends. Also, that God would break down so many walls in my life to where I could finally start trusting Him. It was an unforgettable summer filled with memories that will last a lifetime. The miracles you get to see and hear are unimaginable, and the transformation of your own life is unbelievable.
One of the strongest images of God’s power, mercy, and love that I got to witness was during the first week of camp. High schoolers arrived and working at the bottom of the zip I got to interact with quite of bit of them. It is interesting to see the lives of these high schoolers. The conversations they had. The way they interacted with each other. I forgot how different I was in high school, but at the same time how similar I was too. Tuesday night the speaker talked about need. That all of us have this need in our life. We all try filling that gap with something whether it is sports, girls, boys, whatever. However, it always left us empty. The story he used was about the woman at the well from John Chapter 4. How this woman was an adulteress and was trying to find these things to fill that gap but couldn’t. Then Jesus comes and says, I can give you a full life. I can fill that gap. I know everything about you, and I want you to feel loved. The speaker ended with his ten-year-old daughter doing a monolog in a dirty, ripped dress. She spoke about loneliness, hurt, pain, shame, you name it. The need was there but the solution wasn’t. Wednesday, during the day, campers heard what sin was, and how it affects us. As staff, you could see tons of teenagers dealing with the fact that we are all broken. Wanting to be heard and loved. There was nothing that we could do. Thursday night came, and the speaker started talking about the Cross. That although we deserved death, Jesus gave His perfect life, so that we may have the choice to live. At the end of the talk, he began to tell this story about this dad who would dance with his daughter every year on her birthday. However, when she got a boyfriend she ran off to Texas and ended up breaking up and working at the strip club to make money and ends meet. She was afraid to go back. She felt like her dad wouldn’t understand. What she didn’t know is that her dad was traveling across the country to find her. When he got to her, he told his daughter I still love you, and asked now may I have this dance? The speaker asked everyone would you dance with your heavenly father. Even though we think we don’t deserve it, Jesus traveled miles to get to us all because he wanted us to see His love. When he asked that question, the song started and out walked his daughter in the most beautiful dress. They started dancing to the song. You looked around and noticed dozens if not hundreds of kids, staff, and even adults crying. The speaker ended and told everyone that they would have 20 minutes under the stars, which at perfect timing they were visible after a cloudy day. Staff went up to the leader lounge to begin praying. After the twenty minutes were over, all the staff joined together on the balcony and sung How He Loves Us. I don’t remember a time in my life that I cried for more than 35 minutes straight. The love was real. The spirit was moving. Most importantly, God was present and doing work. Fast forward to the last day of camp, and these guys I interacted with all week were back for one last go on the zip. I asked them what was their favorite part of camp. They said cabin time, the talks, and the 20 minutes at night. The change was apparent from the first couple days and the last. That night at the last club they do what is called a “say so” from Psalms which says let the redeem say so. Meaning whoever decided to take that leap of faith and trust God would stand up and announce their leap of faith. When the speaker asked everyone to stand up I saw those guys standing. And one by one each of them said that they wanted to take this leap of faith. I broke down afterward. To think that all this mistrust I had that although I was getting six hours of sleep a night, that I was struggling with my trust and faith, and all these other things. Then to see them stand up was life changing. God is changing lives, and we can trust Him. That He will make everything new. That our lives spent in a relationship with Him are infinitely better than one without Him.
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Again, I hope this may bring some of you peace. That God can use you in incredible ways to see life change because there isn’t anything better to witness I believe. That even though we may be in this stormy weather, we can still have peace knowing God is in control. Till next time, God bless.