Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Feasting On A Storm...

"The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm." 

One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite groups... Praise You In This Storm ~ Casting Crowns

Last week, Irene caused thousands of people to change their plans, to pack up and leave, or stock up and stay.  Grocery shelves were empty, gas prices rose and even though Irene was weaker than previously predicted, she caused millions of dollars of damage and claimed the lives of at least 45 people.

I actually read Macrina's journal entry on feasting on a storm Monday morning, but my heart was so full of the images of Irene, I couldn't follow Macrina's thoughts.  Today, I am still not in full agreement, yet I can hold her insights with open hands, acknowledging they are "her" insights and I can wrestle with them, embrace them, forget about them... : )
"Today I felt rather empty and unvisited by God. Then about two o'clock in the afternoon, after I had prayed for the hundredth time, 'O when will You come?' God came. God came in a storm, a wonderful storm that bent everything to the ground in adoration. The Great Spirit has a way of bending us when we forget to adore. While the lightning is flashing and crashing, the trees bending to the ground in adoration, men and women are at l sat aware that something majestic and extreme is being celebrated in their midst. With each storm the peoples of the earth may fall to the ground in adoration, stand in awe and silence, or fall to their knees in fright. Regardless of which position we take, at least God has gotten our attention. The extremely unenlightened do not even notice God's presence in the storm." (Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels, p 144)
Yes, I have seen great beauty within a storm.  I have noticed how fresh the air can be following a spring rain.  I have imagined the nitrogen that enters the plants as lightening breaks a part molecules.

A storm changes things, just ask the victims of Hurricane Irene.

Okay, I will admit that reading Macrina's thoughts on Monday, I felt a little angry.
"How insensitive! You wish for God, and He comes to you in a storm, but what about the damage caused by that storm?"
I may be a bit anal regarding people who "wish" for something and then receive what they wish for, not thinking about the ramifications for others. Many years ago, we were experiencing a drought. A neighbor wished for rain, saying he wouldn't even mind some hail.

Well, it rained, but guess whose crops were destroyed by the hail storm? : )

"The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm." 

For the most part, I don't like storms and I will is VERY difficult for me to have serenity within a storm of nature or a storm of life.  I'm working on it, but I'm still a long way from experiencing peace over anxiety and fear.

As it often happens, if I ignore one message, God seems to send another my way.  This morning, after ignoring Macrina all week Sarah Young gives me another opportunity to consider discovering God within a storm.
"Seek Me with your whole being. I desire to be found by you and I orchestrate the events of your life with that purpose in mind. When things go well and you are blessed, you can feel Me smiling on you.When you encounter rough patches along your life-journey, trust that My Light is still shining upon you. My reasons for allowing these adversities may be shrouded in mystery, but My continual Presence with you is an absolute promise. Seek Me in good times; seek Me in hard times. You will find Me watching over you all the time." (Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, Sept 1)
Darn....I have to admit that every storm encountered, I have been transformed...normally for the better. AND I have admitted that I don't know that I would have become that person without the storm.

Eugene Peterson, in The Message Bible, transposes Hebrews 10:19-23 to read:
19-21So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into "the Holy Place." Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The "curtain" into God's presence is his body. 22-25So let's do it—full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
In his commentary on these verses Peterson writes:

"...the high priest offered sacrifices to maintain peaceful coexistence, to keep hostility from breaking out from either side...What that means for us is that we can now receive and give in relation to God without hesitation, without negotiation, without caution, without reserve. The way is clear." (Eugene Peterson, The Message Bible, p 1901) 
OKAY! You know what came to mind? Sacrifices to an angry God, to keep "hostility" from breaking out...?

Because of my belief in Jesus as Savior, I do not need to fear the "hostility" of an angry God.  Because of Jesus, I can pray for deliverance from my fear within the storm so that I might know peace.


Peace within the storm.

I'm trying. : ) You know, I might be at the point on my journey that I am better of finding peace within the storms of life than in the past.  I'm a long way from being able to praise in gratitude and finding beauty within the storm.

Ummm, I chose a ship as an image for "peace within the storm" and what story does that bring to mind!  Matthew 8:16-27

Jesus is with me, just as he was with the disciples!

In this story I am reminded that Jesus is the all powerful and the all compassionate One.

If I want the courage that comes from his presence, I must fill up my heart with "WHO" he is.

In this passage I read that Jesus had been healing people all day.  Peterson writes:
"He cured the bodily ill. He fulfilled Isaiah's well-known sermon: 'He took our illnesses. He carried our diseases.' (Matthew 8:16-18)
Matthew is making sure his audience knows "who" Jesus is by this story.  Then, if I believe this about Jesus, why am I not able to praise him within the storm? Why am I like the disciples who cried out, "Save us, Lord!"?

The good news for me is that even though Jesus reprimanded the disciples, "Why are you such cowards, such fainthearts?" He then stood up and told the wind to be silent, the sea to quiet down.

I have journaled before that I am a Child of God who gives second chances.  Yes, I may need the reprimand given to the disciples, but I can also trust that the All Compassionate AND All Powerful One is riding the storm alongside me AND that his peace, his serenity is available to me.

Sometimes He Calms the Storm by Scott Krippane

Sometimes he calms the storm with a whisper...sometimes he holds us close as the wind and waves go wild...sometimes he calms the storm and other times he calms his child...

Storms are a part of living.  Sometimes they are storms of nature.  Sometimes they are storms within relationships.  Sometimes they are storms of terror from others or from Wall Street.  Sometimes they are storms of illness.

Regardless, I can know that the All Compassionate One AND the All Powerful One is in the boat with me.

Lord, you know the recent storm that has hit my family and you know the fear and the terror of the unknown that is rising in all our hearts.  This morning I am not asking that you remove the storm, I know this is a storm we will have to ride out, together...along with you.  So, I am not asking you to quiet the storm; I am asking that you quiet the storm of fear and anxiety that is capturing the hearts of those I love, as well as my own. I am asking you to help all of us discover your presence with us and to lean into your compassionate arms in trust....Lord, help me, help those I love to discover your peace and your serenity within this storm. AMEN.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. I don't know what the storm is that your family is facing right now, but I pray for peace and comfort and strength for all. May you find a path through the storm as expediently as is possible. blessings ~ tanna

  2. You always have such beautiful music and video. Here are 2 that come to mind with this post. "Come to Jesus" - Chris Rice and "Bring the Rain" - Mercy Me

    May Christ's love surround you in the midst of this world today.

  3. your blog is so lovely, it's like a refuge, shelter from the storm whenever I visit. thank you. and happy day to you.

  4. sandi,
    today....on my I entered the sanctuary of the world, I stood in silence,
    under a canopy of color, in the stillness of time....and I spoke your name...sent prayers to the Creator......Hope you heard and felt them.
    holding you in prayer on this day