After being here for 3 years and recently “celebrating” our 3rd anniversary, thoughts of my first month here come to mind. As we have often spoke of, my first week in Grinnell was spent in Country Inn due to the winter storm that before my possessions arrived from Virginia. While it has provided many laughs, much of what happened that week provides us with some valuable lessons for our Christian walk.
In our culture today we often compare trials and tribulations to that of storms. The worse the trial, the worse the storm. 3 years ago may not have been the worst storm Grinnell had ever seen, but it certainly was the worst I had seen since I was a kid (and the worst my wife has ever had to endure). The snow and wind slammed the area entrapping Dawn and I in its path. Ironically, it came upon the heels of a storm in my personal life. It is never a good feeling to have to uproot your family. I had moved to Virginia with high hopes of setting my roots there. There were elders, deacons, and a working, growing, thriving church and I really could not wait until I got to be a part of all of that. To me, it was the dream position. Less than two years later and I was leaving there to return to the Midwest. I was greatly discouraged and unsure of the path that I was supposed to go. I arrived here and a blizzard hit, making my family terribly nervous about what we were getting into here in Grinnell. In the week to come little did I know the lessons that I would eventually learn.
Despite being stranded in the hotel, I never really was alone. I received daily phone calls from the brethren here to check up on us. It was a bit nerve racking to be cooped up in a small room with 3 little ones waiting for the roads to clear enough for us to get into our new home. The phone calls were a daily reminder that while I may have felt trapped there were those sympathetic to our needs. In fact, many of you brought meals to the hotel to be certain that we were provided for. The storms of life need these reminders that we are not alone. When the days seem darkest it is helpful to focus upon the fact that God did not leave us abandoned here in this life. Yes, His son is now at his right hand, yes, the Holy Spirit no longer places those special spiritual gifts upon men anymore, but that does not mean that God is not here. Jesus, in the book of Revelation, reveals himself in the midst of the 7 Golden Lampstands. The lamp stands were the churches of Asia. This was done to encourage and remind the churches that while trials may come Jesus is right here among us. He is watching, comforting, strengthening, and providing us with everything we need. Yes the storms can be scary, but we are not alone.
When I was finally able to venture out I learned that I was in much deeper than I originally thought. My car was completely covered in snow, as were the vehicle on either side of me. Yes, the snow plow had finally cleared the parking lot enough to permit the cars to leave but not everything was done for us. We are going to have to dig our way out. Life is often like that. After the storms of life have cleared we sometimes have a mess to clean up. God certainly was there, helping us out along the way, he even removes the big obstacles for you. But often times he leaves a little bit of work for you to do. This is not because he doesn’t love us, but because he does loves us and he knows that this builds character. It is as the old saying goes. If you give a man a fish he fed him for the a day. If you teach a man how to fish you have fed him all his days. If God does everything for us when we encounter various trials then there is no faith building lessons learned.
As I headed out in this winter wonderland I knew I needed to check on the new house. I arrive and see that the backdoor was buried in the snow and the shovel was in the garage, which was locked and the keys were in the house. No problem, I dug my way into the house with my hands and feet got the key, cleared a path between the house and the garage and even unloaded a few things out of the moving truck. I did not worry because I had already done this earlier today. Such are the trials we face. They enable us to face future trials. They build endurance. They make it possible to say, with God with me I can do this.
Upon my departure, I drove my car into the ditch. I felt quite embarrassed. It had been too long since I drove on slick roads and it clearly was showing. I had to ask a local to help me out of my predicament and he kindly obliged. Sometimes life is like that. We think we are in the clear after these storms which we face only to find ourselves slipping. The more we struggle it seems like the more we dig ourselves into the mess. It would have been a whole lot easier to entreat God for help, for forgiveness than to do it yourself. ~WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
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Weathering the Storm
Volume 4 Issue 2 December 9, 2012