Hope in the Storm

Life is full of storms. Some of them are over quickly, while others seem to drag on forever.

The Apostle Paul went through a lengthy storm on the Mediterranean Sea during which time those on the ship gradually gave up hope of their being saved.

But God sent an angel to Paul and reassured him so that he might, in turn, reassure the others on the boat that none of them would die in the storm even though there would be great loss of possessions. (Acts 27:14-26)

Today, I’d like to resurrect a post from last year about a terrible storm that I endured and about our first Christmas during that storm.

Christmas 25 years ago was a very difficult time for me and my three oldest children.  Our preparation that year was not for Christmas, but for totally packing up life as we had known it, and coming back to the States with 2 suitcases apiece and my electric keyboard. We sent one large box via the postal service.  Everything else had to be sold or given away.

We flew from Paris to Chicago on December 23rd that year.  I was flying alone with 3 children ages 5, 7, and 9.  It was a Monday, and we had been traveling since the wee hours of the morning.  On top of that, I had discovered on Saturday evening, after all businesses were closed, that my 5 year old’s passport was expired.  I had no choice but to travel anyway, praying over and over that God would allow us to get through customs with no problems.

What a relief it was to finally be through customs with nary a word from any official on either end of the voyage about the expired passport. (Thank You, Lord!)

What a relief it was to rest at the home of my sister who went overboard to see to it that we had a good Christmas.  I had nothing to offer her, but she understood.

I would not say that I had a joyful Christmas that year (as one normally thinks of joy in terms of gladness and dancing), but my sister offered me rest, relief, and respite in a time of great turmoil and grief.  (I do remember the outfit she and our other sister bought me, though.  I loved it!  My sisters have such good taste!)

I did not feel great joy then, but I have joy now, even in the sadness that grips my heart as I pull these memories out of storage.  I have joy in the realization that my family loved me and was willing to welcome us home in dire circumstances.  I think then I just felt relief and some sort of safety from the overwhelming circumstances that put us in that position, temporary safety from a raging storm that had come to rip me to shreds.

I knew that God was with us.  I felt His strong and protective Presence with us.  I did not at that time, however, make the connection (in so many words) that the Baby born in the manger so long ago, Emmanuel, God with us, was the reason that such a thing was possible.

But it was. Jesus became my Savior when I was just a child.  He came into my heart, forgave my sins, and made me a new creation.  If He had not come as Emmanuel, God with us, with the purpose of becoming the only Sacrifice for sin, I could not have then, nor now, had a relationship with Him.

Jesus, Emmanuel, has been with me and led me through the Red Sea that threatened to swallow me alive and through the lonely, arid wilderness that followed those life-changing events that Christmas so long ago.  He has graciously led me over time to a more joyful place through the realization of the greatness of His amazing grace, and taught me that we can have joy even in very trying times. Sometimes that joy just looks less like dancing and more like curling up contentedly on the couch with a good book in front of the fireplace while a devastating storm rages outside.

“I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10,11

For those of you going through an awful storm right now,

there is hope because of Jesus!

  I pray that you will find, as I did, that

He is Emmanuel, God with you in the midst of the storm.

Twenty-five years ago, I could sing the song “Christ is all I need” with faith but without understanding.  The storms of life were the classroom in which I came to understand the truth of those words.

I pray that you will be convinced this Christmas and always that the gift of His Presence is all you need to have hope and to be glad in Him.

Linking up with:

Spiritual Sundays

Grace and Truth

Dance with Jesus

Live Free Thursday

Thought Provoking Thursday

Sitting Among Friends

Coffee for your Heart

Testimony Tuesday

Ra Ra Linkup

Small Wonder

Glimpses

Monday Musings

Give me grace

Mondays @ Soul Survival

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20 thoughts on “Hope in the Storm

    1. Yes, Lisa, and our version of “okay” is so often not the same as God’s version, which is more than just okay; His version is “best”. We have our ideas of what is supposed to happen, and we set our hopes, without realizing it, I think, on our expectations instead of hoping in God and surrendering to His good will. Hey, that reminds me! “Peace on earth, good will toward man.” Yes, that’s what He wants for us! 🙂

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  1. What a testimony! To know that God has been so faithful to you even in the hardest of times. I’m so sorry for the circumstances that caused the pain, but what joy to know God more fully in your dependency. Happy to be here today from Coffee For Your Heart. Merry Christmas to you and your family. ❤

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  2. Goodness, Ruth. What a Christmas that was. And, yet…joy. Joy and Hope in the form of a newborn King. We don’t often think about Him as newborn when we’re going through storms, do we? Immanuel–God with us. Still, He held the power of creation, even as He laid in a manger. What a beautiful mystery it is. — Merry Christmas, Ruth! 🙂

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    1. Wow, Brenda, yes, such a mystery. I have to admit that I still don’t understand it. And looking back at the beginnings of the trial I was going through at that time, the comfort I found was in the suffering of Christ and in the Lord as my Shepherd and in the goodness of God. At least a couple of years later, I became deeply moved by Psalm 139, but I still did not make the connection with the Baby Jesus as Emmanuel. Sometimes we don’t make connections like these until years later.

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  3. There is such hope in your words! Our circumstances might be MESSY, but God is always working out a MASTERPIECE in them! Praise God for bringing you through that storm and that your faith is stronger because of it! Blessings!

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  4. Such a hard but beautiful testimony, Ruth! Praising the Lord for all He taught you and teaches us about His presence and protection through the storms. I especially love your remarks about joy. Sometimes joy is so quiet and peaceful instead of giddy and loud- but it’s still real joy : ) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yes, Bethany, it was extremely hard. And I couldn’t have made it through without God and the people that He sent to be His hands and feet that prayed for me, loved me, and gave of themselves in many ways. I do thank the Lord for His grace in all the ways He brought me through.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your story. I love that God is with us even in the middle of the storm, giving us hope and teaching us through it. I think it’s often looking back that we can see more clearly that he was with us and where he was working in it. Hope you have a lovely Christmas!

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  6. Merry Christmas Ruth!! God had you covered. I love that:) You have a lovely corner of the internet here. I’m happy to be visiting from Holley Gerth’s place this week. I look forward to getting to know you as we link up!

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