Storms are weather patterns created by a confluence of high & low pressures that create intense swirling and billowing forces. Often the aftermath of a passing storm is devastating. Trees are uprooted, buildings blown apart and bodies of water are pushed beyond their border, leveling the landscape. Similarly, “life” introduces particularly stormy weather patterns that can deeply impact the landscape of our living situation. A marriage blown apart, a business washed away, a home life shaken to its core, are common after an intense storm. What remains, is what has gained strength over time…. strength developed from preparation and strength enhanced from withstanding previous buffetings.
The strongest trees are not found within the thick shelter of a forest but out in the open, standing alone where storms from every direction can impact them. The fierce storms pull & twist the tree until it grows into a mighty giant. It is from these magnificent trees that prime lumber is cut, because of its strength and true nature. It is the same for us. In order to develop a strong character, capable of withstanding dark and stormy seasons, we must avoid the pathway of ease. Rather, choose a road that is steep, where sharp rocks cut into our soles; thorns stick; and winds of adversity threaten to blow us off our purpose. Difficult? Absolutely! Rewarding? Certainly! The impact of choosing a more challenging pathway will often be the removal of the elements of our life that don’t serve us or support us. Storms can be very cleansing.
Along my own life-path, I was hit by a conflagration of storms that uprooted and destroyed most of what I valued at the time. My job, my home, and my marriage, were all gone within a span of 3 years. It was a conscious choice not to attempt to run away from the storms, but to run headlong into the center of the storm where the peace of God met me. There in the center of the storm with God, I was comforted, taught and strengthened. It was amazing to calmly witness the deconstruction of all I previously held to, leaving only a firm foundation of my strongly held values & beliefs.
Today, I am in the process of re-building. I am constructing on firmly founded components of Love, Integrity, Intention and a deep-seated sense of purpose. My life is “lighter”; free of most burdens, yet tempered to withstand the most severe storm. Truly, I have gained much more than I’ve lost in the midst of my own turbulent seasons. Not the least of my gain is greater strength to endure a most certain onslaught of current storms bearing down upon us.
Yes, our strength can grow immensely during a storm. The key is to be very intentional in how we face adversity and to prepare wisely by allowing God to coach us. Remember, it is only through the resistance of adversity we can grow. Otherwise, we may become weak, complacent and vulnerable.
Adversity… it is the diamond dust that heaven uses to polish its jewels with – Thomas Carlyle