For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm. Isaiah 25:4
“Did you lose power?”
I heard that question over and over in the days after our area was hit by a devastating hurricane followed by a snowy nor’easter.
Falling trees mangled utility poles and wires. Fire destroyed a whole neighborhood that could not be reached because of flooding. Lights went out; homes became cold. Food spoiled. Businesses, schools, and churches closed down. Communication stopped as computers, even cell phone towers failed. Generators sputtered. Lines grew long at gas stations and gas had to be rationed.
Some people lost everything they owned. Feelings of powerlessness and isolation overwhelmed them.
Maybe they thought, Does anybody care? Where’s God?
Charles Wesley wrote a hymn during a storm in his life. He knew God heard his cry:
Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Wesley recalled the compassion Jesus Christ showed while He walked among needy people on earth:
Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Sometimes it’s good to lose electrical power. The darkness, the cold, the total break in our usual routine makes us stop and ask, “Is God still in control? What really matters? Do I have what I need to face the storms of life?”
When Wesley placed his life in Jesus Christ’s loving care, he was able to see beyond his immediate situation:
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.*
When we find ourselves powerless and isolated, we need not succumb to our feelings. Instead, like Wesley, we can turn to the One who loved us enough to suffer alone on the cross so that we could live forever with Him in heaven.
He knows exactly how we feel. He can fill our hearts with peace and comfort no matter what the situation may be.
Several times Jesus’ disciples almost drowned in a storm that arose when they were in a boat. Read Matthew 8:23-27 and Matthew 14:22-32. How are the accounts different? What lessons can we learn from what Jesus did?
When Job found himself in a sea of sorrow and pain, God appeared to him and reminded him of His majestic power. Twice God spoke to Job “out of the storm” (Job 38:1; 40:6). What was Job’s response to God as recorded in Job 42:1-6? Can you think of a time when you saw God’s power and yet felt His presence reassuring you?
Read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 What is the contradiction Paul finds in weakness (powerlessness)? What are some of the situations he mentions? Have you experienced any of these? Did you feel God’s strength?
Nancy J. Baker
*All the stanzas of the hymn may be found on www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/j/l/jlmysoul.htm.