Storms. Live any significant length of time and I promise you will find yourself in some. Sometimes storms travel in packs: sometimes we have to face storms on multiple fronts – family, physical, job. If we only had one storm to deal with, we’d be fine. But when they come at us together these storms have a much greater effect. Moreover, it’s amazing how quickly these storms can arise. Over the short course of my life, I’ve come to belief that often its not the severity of the storm or even the number of storms at once that is so devastating, but how quickly the storms of our life can appear.
When I think about storms, my Father’s words from His book speak come to mind:
“When I think of storms I often think of Job. Few people in the history of the world have faced the severity and suddenness of his devastation. Yet what is unbelievable to me is Job’s response: he blessed the Lord and worshipped. What a response. What a way to deal with unbelievable news about things that cut to the core of our being.”
I wish I could say that throughout my life my first response to the storms that come up faster than my mind can process or the storms that pushed me beyond my emotional limit was worship. But if I’m honest, I often find a place of despair or complaining to be my first response rather than a song of worship. I’m intrigued at the times that Jesus had to deal with storms as it relates to His disciples. Jesus’ first response to the disciples when they wake Him because of the spontaneous storm that combated them was this: “why are you afraid?”
This provides some significant insight into the issue of storms: it isn’t actually the storm. Its the fear of the storm. Furthermore, its not just fear of the storm or the result, but ultimately its the fear that the One sleeping in my boat can’t really handle the storm in front of me. This Jesus’ real area of confrontation. The real storm on the water that day is not the storm but the storm of doubt in the disciple’s heart. Jesus’ comment of “Why are you of so little faith” is directed right at their fear or doubt of Him. The disciples prove Jesus’ confrontation correct as they ask themselves, “What manner of man is this …..”
The landing point in this finds more truth than what I want to admit. The storms that arise in my life unveil in my heart a sense of doubt of who I really believe God is. It is this doubt that causes complaining to arise before praise.
Maybe this is why I watch worshippers seem to walk in a with a greater sense of peace and witness a greater sense of His abiding presence than those who choose to speak words of death rather than life. Their worship does more than calm the storms: it calms their fears and doubt.
Worship becomes the bridge that connects my heart with God’s heart. The Lord’s words of “Peace be still” ride on a bridge of worship that simultaneously connects my storm and my soul with His presence. It is worship that lead us to a place of exaltation (Psalm 145) and through seasons of wilderness (Psalm 42). It is worship that invokes in us a sense of thanksgiving (Psalm 100), joy (Psalm 122) and repentance (Psalm 31). Worship brings us through places of deliverance (Psalm 25) and grants us guidance in life (Psalm 119). Maybe most importantly, worship leads our heart into a place of deeper devotion (Psalm 27).
As a church family we stand in the midst of neighborhoods, communities, and cities that are filled with fear. Yet the storms that are raging an being reposted, retweeted, hash-tagged, and insta-gramed at a rapidly increasing rate are not just a shadow of the storm of fear that is brewing in the hearts of people around us. May we, as an interwoven church family, caring for each other’s fears an storms, build some bridges of worship that rise above troubled waters with our songs: both for us and for each other.
These songs of worship declaring who God is, builds bridges that puts us on a journey of eternal proportions with a divine destination: His heart and an experiential knowledge of who He is.