As I write this, Chicago is getting hit with a harsh, sleety downpour. This weather is far from the ideal, except for aspiring ninjas who can evade both hail and pneumonia. But when I look out the window, I am reminded of so many storms (physical and spiritual) in my life - and how God used each one to shape and form me into the woman of God I am today.
It also reminds me of 1 Kings 18 and 19, when Elijah prayed for rain and God answered. While others went off to eat and drink, safe from the impending storm, Elijah climbed to the top of a mountain. In solitude, he fell to his knees in worship and intercession. He lingers in that place long after his servant spotted dark clouds. Finally, "the sky grew black, the wind rose, and heavy rain came..." (v. 45) In that moment, "the power of the Lord came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran...all the way to Jezreel" (v. 46). I love that in the midst of a torrential downpour, God gives Elijah the strength outrun both his enemies' chariot AND the storm, over a distance of about 20 miles. Moreover, Elijah has the courage to brace himself and run TOWARD Jezebel who intends to kill him on the spot.
Yet in chapter 19, when the storm finally comes - Elijah gets scared. After the Lord empowered him supernaturally (MANY times), Elijah turns and "runs for his life" (v. 3). He ends up exhausted, hiding in a cave. God, in His mercy and grace, meets him there - this time not in a storm, but in a whisper. With a twist of irony, God sends Elijah right back from where he came. He commands him to go back out into the "storm!" Refreshed by God's presence, Elijah returns with a fresh anointing for others as well as clarity of his own purpose.
This calls for wisdom. There are times when the storms of life require us to run for cover. Especially those storms we brought upon ourselves! Our actions bring consequences in such a way that the whole world may see the drama coming. By the conviction and power of the Holy Spirit, God can strengthen us to retreat to safety just in time. Like Elijah, we can find healing, rest, and provision in His presence.
However, many times the storms come unwelcome and unannounced. We may strive to live a faithful life and walk obediently in His commands. Don't be fooled, churchgoing believers are not exempt from hardship. Jesus warns in Matthew 5:45 that the "rain falls on both the wicked and the good." In those moments, we have a choice. We can scatter with the crowd in a frenzy for refuge, or we can calmly open our umbrella of faith.
As the alarms sound, we may suddenly find our faith stripped or damaged by raging winds. When it comes, there is nowhere left to hide. Tuck your cloak into the belt of Truth. Fall to your knees in desperate prayer. Lay low to the ground with groanings of the Spirit. Brace yourself: the enemy will envelop dreamy skies with piercing darkness. Do not despair. Howling winds will taunt us with confusion and doubt. Do not be anxious or afraid. Everyone around us will flee from the flashing strikes. The very ground under our feet will tremble from peals of thunder. Don't be shaken, instead anchor yourself with His Word. Monsoon season is always a terrifying test to true faith.
Are you facing a storm? I urge you to hang on for dear life. Rest assured: this too shall pass! Be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" (Psalm 27:14).
If your weary heart and flesh are beginning to fail, let the words of this old hymn wash over you:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well, with my soul, It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul.
In due time, you will hear His whisper... finally hear His familiar voice beckoning you to come forth... then, and only then... in that kairos moment...
You will arise from the shambles, not to run for cover, but to embrace the storm. Against your natural circumstances, may God's presence encourage you to stand, to sing... and of course, to dance in the rain. May your rain dance burst forth as a bold, defiant, supernatural act of worship.
They say "those who are seen dancing are thought to be insane by those who cannot hear the music." Sure people will talk, but they probably think you're crazy by now anyway. Might as well give them a good show. Who knows? If your soul makes enough music, you might even inspire them to join along.
What is your storm? Feel free to share in the comments; prayer requests welcome. Know you are loved and covered in prayer.