I love going to the beach. There’s something about the waves rolling in and the calmness of the beauty of God’s creation that inspires and moves me. I love the distinct smell of the water as it laps against the sandy shores. I love how the earthy colors of the strand contrasts with the azure splendor of the skies and the vast untamed expanses of water. Every time I go to the beach I’m inspired. I come away feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, grateful and blessed.
This afternoon I made an unplanned stop at the Jumeirah Beach. It was unusually quiet, not too crowded and looked extraordinarily breathtaking. This is such a lovely time of year in the U.A.E. We were there for two hours and as I sat there listening to Mat Redman’s music playing on my ipod, I watched that calm sea become increasingly rough and jagged. Before I knew it, the wind seemed to pick up speed, the waves began to roll in and soon that serene setting was transformed.
It reminded me of how quickly the unexpected storms of life can sneak up on us. One minute we are basking in the beautiful sun, soaking up the warmth, and then suddenly a storm rolls in. The dark clouds gather, the winds begin to whip in and the rain begins to pour.These storms of life come in many forms – physical, emotion and spiritual trials. They come in all sizes, big and small. Some are caused by decisions we make, others are because of decisions from those around us, and yet some are because we live on this earth, where trials are a given.
Each trial we face, each storm that pounds against us, has one thing in common. WE are the ones that decide how we face those storms. We are the ones that decide if we just sit out in the cold, huddled in a ball, weeping and wondering ‘why me?’. Or we can decide to face the storm head on, with the right equipment wrapped around us, determined not to let the storm get the better of you, searching for that break in the clouds.
And then there are times we need to take cover, find safe shelter. That shelter can be in the arms of loved ones or perhaps a listening ear of a close friend. I’m not the most religious person. I miss church sometimes. I forget to pray. I’m not an ideal Christian but I’m so grateful that when I do face my storms I turn to Christ for my protection. I’ve found over the last 28 years that when I trust in God during the storms in my life I also find in myself the greatest capacity to grow.
I look at the world and there are millions of examples of people having to deal with unexpected problems. You don’t send your child to school thinking someone’s going to shoot them dead in the next few hours. You don’t leave home for the Gurudwara with the thought that a deranged white supremacist will tear you away from your life. The kids I teach, the people I meet and those I work with – all of us face unexpected storms.
That’s just how life is.
For me, the key to surviving life’s storms – all the unexpected things that can toss me around is believing that in spite of the craziness around me, God is still in control. No matter how bad the unexpected storm, I know that I’ll get through it. I’ll move through it. Unexpected storms are painful and definitely not something we plan on dealing with, but we’ll get through it – just in different ways. Life keeps going. The question isn’t about whether or not the next storm is coming. It is coming. No doubt about it. The real question is this: will you let it break you or will you find a way to fight through it till the sun rays break through and the calm returns?