Learning to Give Thanks Through the Storm
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.” (Psalm 28:7 NKJV)
When a stormy season comes into our lives, as single adults we may feel alone, afraid, intimidated, and even angry. I did some research about storms and found out the following information:
A storm is any disturbed state of an environment or astronomical body’s atmosphere, especially affecting its surface, and strongly implying severe weather. It may be marked by significant disruptions to normal conditions. Storms generally lead to negative impacts on lives and property.
Now let’s talk about storms that are personal.
And I’m not talking about the weather.
The year was 1990. I was a young 20-year-old girl who thought everything was going great in my world. I had finished my first year at Bible College and was looking forward to a great summer. I had only been home a few days from a tour across the U.S. with the college chorale. We’d had a great trip and God did many wonderful things in our services. But I was glad to be home for a few months. And I was glad to be home with my family. My sister, Karen, had just returned from a missions trip and was leaving that morning to fly out to start a summer tour. The family, including my dad, mom, and I all decided to take Karen to the airport so we could hear about the missions trip. Little did we know that our steps were being directed and every detail had been set in a motion that would change our lives forever.
At the urging of my mom, Karen sat in the front seat of the car next to my dad who was driving. I sat in the back seat of our two-door car next to my mom. As Dad stopped the car at the red light, we were all talking and enjoying the stories Karen was sharing about her missions trip.
Suddenly, everything went black.
A 25-year-old woman had been out all night drinking and celebrating the 4th of July. She was driving her parents’ half-ton pick-up truck and was so inebriated that she didn’t even know there was a red light, or a car full of people in front of her. She plowed into us without even applying the brakes, pushing us several hundred feet through the intersection and leaving our car in a tangled heap of metal.
Fortunately, we were near a fire station and they immediately came to our rescue. I was told later that the paramedics were trying to get a life flight helicopter for me, but there wasn’t one available. Their ambulance rushed me to the nearest trauma center in Sacramento. My dad and sis were also taken via ambulance.
Unfortunately, Mom was killed instantly.
I was rushed in for emergency surgery because they thought there was internal bleeding. My world was instantly turned upside down; I was in a coma and didn’t know what was going on. I couldn’t even pray for myself. But Sis. Joy Haney and a group of women at Christian Life Center in Stockton, CA were having a prayer meeting at that exact same time. I recently confirmed with Sis. Haney and she verified what happened during that prayer meeting. They began to pray immediately for the internal bleeding to stop as I went into surgery. Sis. Haney said she remembers someone speaking out and saying, “It is stopped.”
As these mighty prayer warriors began to call on the great and powerful one true God, the surgeons in the trauma unit began to operate on me, only to find out that the internal bleeding had indeed stopped! God performed a miracle in that operating room. There truly is power in prayer!
I was in the hospital room in a coma for four days. As I came out of the coma on the fourth day, I looked around the room and saw a group of people dressed up and standing around my hospital bed. I wondered what was happening and I began to look around the room from face to face, searching for my mom’s face. I knew my mom would be there — she was always there for me. I needed her to let me know it was okay — to tell me what had happened, to give me a hug, to gently kiss my cheek and say, “You’re going to be alright.” But my mom wasn’t there. I had so many questions in my mind, but I all I could manage was, “Where’s Mom?” My brother and my pastor stepped up and said, “Mom’s not here. Mom didn’t make it. We just came from her funeral service.” The day I came out of the coma was the day of my mom’s funeral.
“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” (Psalms 34:18 NKJV)
Sometimes you have to go through a storm so you can get closer to the Peacemaker. You may need to experience a broken heart, so you can comfort the broken-hearted. You may have to mourn so you can learn how to comfort those that mourn. You may need to be broken so you can be put back together again and He can use you to help other broken people.
“I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search.” (Psalms 77:6 NKJV)
Furthermore, the LORD says,
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.” Psalms 91:14-15 NKJV)
Several years passed and my life returned to a “new normal.” I was happily married to the love of my life and all seemed to be going well. We were blessed with a bouncing baby boy and all was sunny and bright. I was married to a minister and we were involved in church work and everything seemed to be great. But a second storm was brewing. I suppose that I should have seen the warning signals, but I didn’t.
The severe storm of lies, betrayal, and deceit crept into my home.
I had never experienced the feeling of rejection and then abandonment as I did during that difficult season. At that time I did not realize that depression was so close to overtaking my life. You may smile and go through the motions on the outside, but on the inside your heart is slowly breaking. You immediately go numb and start building a thick cement wall around your heart. You say that this will NEVER happen again. You will never allow people or circumstances to steal things from you again. You feel that you can never love again. You might not even be able to truly live again. Anger, pain, resentment: do I need to use any other negative words to describe this situation?
We all face different storms; it could be through the death of a loved one or through the death of a marriage. The storm of divorce may have raged in your life and you see no end in sight. You face fear and rejection. You feel unloved and abandoned. In our brokenness and betrayal — in the most severe storms in our lives — that’s when we meet the Master and really get to know Him. It’s in these dark moments you begin to learn how:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalms 46:1 NKJV)
You make up in your mind that:
“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth..” (Psalms 34:1 NKJV)
You delve deeper into the knowledge of who God is in the darkest times of your life:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalms 27:1 NKJV)
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalms 18:2 NKJV)
During that second severe storm in my life, I learned a few things. No matter how dark it was, God was always brighter. No matter how strong the turbulence was, God was always my shelter. He was the constant in my life. HE was my provider. HE was the Waymaker. HE loved me unconditionally. HE never left me. HE never forgot about me. HE really did care about me.
Still I will trust HIM… Through the storms in my life.
“For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; for the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” (Isaiah 25:4 NKJV)
No matter how rough the situation was, I learned to give thanks through it all and to completely trust Him as I faced each new day. When you are battling trials of your own, here are some suggestions to help you to continue to give thanks in spite of the storm:
- Worship the Creator: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name.” (Psalms 100:4 NKJV)
- Read and memorize the Word: “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalms 119:11 NKJV)
- Listen to uplifting music and preaching: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18 NKJV)
- Surround yourself with people that encourage and support you: “ Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4 NKJV)
- Be grateful during the storm: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV)
Most of all, remember that your storm is only for a season and that you are on the most intimate of terms with the One who is in charge of all seasons. He will be your strength, comfort, and safety during this and every other storm that may rage in your life. The very same God who spoke into the darkest of voids and said, “Let there be light,” will one day speak into the darkness in your life and you will find sunshine even in the most hidden away of shadows. Storms come but it is important to remember that they come to pass — never to stay.