I grew up hearing the phrase “calm before the storm” but never thought much about it. This past week, as we watched the weather reports of an encroaching storm, there was NO “calm before the storm!” Fear of the unknown was really more what ruled my heart, with a dash of wondering, “Will we get through this one okay?” With every waking moment trying to prepare, it was a very intense week. Then there was all the waiting . . . hour upon hour . . . as the storm neared, stayed around far longer than we were used to and f-i-n-a-l-l-y passed.
Our area was largely spared the loss and suffering experienced by so many living just north of us. It has been hard to even know how to pray for those neighbors who have been stripped of family members or everything they worked many times a lifetime to attain. After watching hour after hour of news reports I wondered, “Where is fairness in all of this chaotic mess?”
Still battling this confusion, yesterday afternoon my husband and I drove down to a local beach to check on a friend and to survey some of the damage. As we traveled, I was comforted by the bright light shining through a sky still full of banks of gray clouds that swirled over the passing countryside . . . I was struck by an unmistakable quietness of mind and heart. The feeling was somehow familiar. . . CALM AFTER A STORM? Yes!
There it was . . . that calm I have experienced during a multitude of life storms, when hanging on was all I could do.
There it was . . . breaking through solitary moments, a quietness of mind and heart that in past days had faithfully calmed my mind and heart, even as those seemingly devastating storms stripped away all that I tried to hold onto.
There He was . . . finally revealed as all was stripped away. My faithful God forever offering His strength . . . His peace . . . His amazing grace!
As His calmness tended to my confusion and heartache for so many impacted by this dreadful storm,
There it was . . . a calm full of HOPE!
This morning, still pondering the blessing of yesterday, the words of an old hymn flooded my soul afresh with a balm of calmness to face this new day. I offer the words of Katharina von Schlegel, that have encouraged many through a multitude of storms. I especially offer it to those of you who are facing or are persevering through storms of many kinds, praying that His calm will prevail over your minds and hearts no matter what:
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: your God will undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shall you better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe your sorrow and your fears.
Be still, my soul: your Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
Katharina von Schlegel, 1752
Translated by Jane Borthwick, 1855
Tune: FINLANDIA, Jean Sibelius, 1899
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Thessalonians 5:23
All to His Glory!