I remember one year when I lived in Michigan on a July 4th there were storms coming across Lake Michigan.
Not one small batch of rain — no, it was a serious line of severe storms I saw on the radar and I knew it was headed due east from the Wisconsin side to the Michigan side.
The time couldn’t have been any better to coincide with the fireworks.
Fireworks? What we call fireworks with those small rockets with crackles and booms — those aren’t the real deal. It was long after sunset that summer night when I kept watch to the western sky when first the only thing you noticed about the storm was the lightning.
And this particular line of severe storms packed lightning so thick there wasn’t a split second when one wasn’t streaking across the clouds or reaching over or down. Long before any sound was heard, the sky was ablaze with at first orange then yellow then blue shades and lines and streaks of light.
The the low rumble could be heard, very distant at first. It would almost pulsate, increasing in volume, then fading, but not completely before the next rumble would take its place. Then rumbles became more like gigantic cannons going off one after the other and it seemed like they were competing who could be first to get their deep blasts heard.
And before you knew it, it all combined with a torrential rain you hoped no one was caught in. Hail, rain, wind, lighting and thunder all blended to wish it would just pass by quickly. It can be scary. Especially if your shelter gets compromised.
When the Storm Is On the Horizon
Storms of life come too. I would venture to say, however, most of the time we don’t have the advantage of seeing when they are coming. At least not at a distance. But sometimes we can. And we sense something is coming, something is beginning to happen and it doesn’t feel good.
Maybe there’s a lingering pain somewhere in your body you’ve hoped would go away, but it doesn’t. That’s a storm off in the distance, creeping across the horizon.
Perhaps a loved one is slowly killing themselves with an addiction. You see it coming — it’s been out there circling and with each pass it gets nearer and nearer to your emotional horizon.
The relationship with someone you care about is growing cold. It’s showing signs of deterioration and decay. Toxic even.
Clouds are building and what can you do to handle a future showing itself ominously in the periphery?
When the Storm Approaches
Now it’s arrived. The thunder isn’t alone and the wind is starting to pick up.
You’re waiting for lab results. Your loved one hasn’t called for a few weeks. The relationship is not just beginning to crack, dark shadows are gaping out in the deep spaces between you and the tension is almost unbearable.
The storm is close at hand now — what’s it going to take to weather what you’re about to go through?
The Storm Rages
And then it happens. In all its fury, the storm breaks open all around you and you cannot escape its consequences. Damage is being done. Lives are being changed forever. Lives are nearing their end, or they have. Relationships are severed, leaving deep and painful grief in their wake.
You are panicking. All around you is chaos and darkness and you wonder if you will break too. Maybe, you already have.
What’s this secret to weathering storms of this magnitude? The answer is remarkably simple and its one word: Praise.
Here’s God’s promise: when we call on his name, he hears us. And even better, when we praise him when everything around us screams to not to, that’s when we need to the most. I can’t say any simpler than that.When we least feel like praising God — it’s then we should absolutely commit to do it. Click To Tweet
Psalm 22:3 — Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
Do you see it? When we praise God (in any storm, in any circumstance) he takes his place to be enthroned in our hearts. When our hearts are dark with terror and doubt or fear and anxiety — the smartest and best thing we could possibly do is give him our praise.
Because what else do we have to give him? Sure, give him the pain we feel. Share the dark thoughts of doubt or utter fear of emptiness. But above all praise God for his continued grace, love, compassion, authority, control, justice, perfection, holiness — all the qualities he has that makes him our Father in Heaven.
I can almost guarantee you if you do this, while your storm may not change, you will. It may be better strength to withstand everything. It may be clarity to make a decision you’ve been putting off. Perhaps it’s a special wisdom to deal with the complexities your facing as the winds shift and the very landscape is moving.
I believe more than anything praise brings peace. Click To Tweet Praise tells us and the world we are in the storm doesn’t have the final say. The storm will pass and its fury will be spent. Long after the storm is gone God will remain and his will is done. He will still be on his throne, just he was before the storm came along.
When a patient I visited a number of years ago, who had a very advanced cancer shared her perspective, I became the one being ministered to. Her words to me after getting the life-threatening diagnosis: “God hasn’t changed.”
No he hasn’t. And he never will.
Maybe that one reason right there is enough to praise him, wouldn’t you say?
I’m Wondering: Could you praise God no matter what? Have experienced his presence through praising him during a storm of your life?