I am now living in south Florida, and outer bands of Hurricane Ian passed over us last night. My heart goes out to so many of my friends and family awaiting Ian in central Florida. I was reminded of this devotion I wrote back in 2018 and wanted to share it with you! Stay safe and dry, my fellow Floridians!
I live in North Carolina, and we are recovering from the recent Hurricane Florence. SO. MUCH. RAIN. We are very fortunate that there was no damage or flooding where we live. The power was out for about three days, but that was all. Considering that I was in Florida for Hurricane Irma last year and the eye passed right over my hometown, I was not ready for this hurricane. The air pressure began changing the week prior to Florence, and for some that is no big deal. But for me, my chronic leg and hip pain intensified under the added pressure. I was very, very uncomfortable and just could not wait for the storm to be over.
During what was basically a weeklong storm, Florence went from a hurricane into a tropical storm, into a thunderstorm, into gray and showers, into clear skies – all right over our heads. The seemingly constant rain, and intensity of my pain, made me into a less than happy camper. The most common phrase that flashed through my mind and my grumbling was “When will it end?”
Maybe that’s you, too. Maybe it’s not a hurricane, but maybe it’s a sickness, a job loss, the death of a family member… fill in your blank. Maybe it’s just one thing piled onto another, and you feel like if one more thing goes wrong, you’re going to break. “When will it end?”
I know I’ve been there – a lot, actually. I have had the one thing after another after another happen to the point where I just want to be done. It’s the anxiousness of wanting to get off a roller coaster ride when you know you have to sit and wait it out. It’s the feeling of walking through a long, long tunnel where you don’t know the end. You are exhausted, but you continue putting one foot in front of another thinking, “When will this end?” I’ve had well meaning people give me a hug and say “tomorrow will be a better day” or “things will get better soon”, and I look at them, and it takes every ounce of my being to stay calm, cool, and collected. Because they don’t know what will happen. How could they? So, I will never promise you that things will get better. I will never promise you that you’ve already had enough trouble and you’re going to have a break from suffering, because I cannot do that. That would be lying. But what I can tell you is even better.
What could be better? Jesus’ promise in John 16:33, “I [Jesus] have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Jesus clearly doesn’t tell us that after one or two bad things, everything will smooth out. No! He basically promises us that we will have tribulation. We WILL have trials, hardships, suffering, pain…. But that’s not the highlight of the verse. Like an Oreo, the tribulation is sandwiched between Jesus the Prince of Peace, and Jesus the Overcomer of the whole entire world! He will see us through any trial.
Friend, please hear me. Do not lose heart, because the Savior of the world is on your side. Abiding in Christ means we have all the peace we could possibly ask for, because Jesus Himself is our peace. Drawing near to Jesus is trusting that because He has overcome the world, He is capable of handling anything that gets thrown our way. In fact, He already has. He did that at the cross….
As someone once told me, “life is not for the faint of heart”. Basically, at some point, things will be hard. For people like me who live in chronic pain, we automatically have something that is always hard. Friend, I am sorry for the trials happening right now in your life. I wish life was easier. Oh, how wonderful that sounds! But while it is not, we have an opportunity to rest in the promises of God during our seasons of waiting for a brighter day. We can cling to the promise that He is good, no matter how our circumstances appear. God is for you, His daughter. He loves you with an everlasting love.
One day, Jesus will return and claim the victory, and death and pain will be no more. But as I recently heard in a sermon, “during this window of time where we have God’s mercy of bringing people to Himself, there is room for evil and destruction.” But as believers, we know there IS an END, and we know that the end is when Jesus will take his rightful reign. This I can promise you: there will be no more pain; there will be no more tears!