I took this September photo just as the sun set over the bay in San Diego near the pier where the USS Midway is docked. The ship now is a museum. There is a collection of bronze statues on this view point. Bob Hope with his recognizable profile, that nose and chin, brings memories of the many years he did USO tours all over the world to entertain and encourage our men and women who were fighting for our freedom. He is a true patriot. I find this photo to be calming.
The British have a saying I've always liked...
"Be calm and carry on." This may not be easy as there is always chaos somewhere in the world. We experience storms that take many lives and destroy possessions that were so precious. And then, we have our own personal storms - health, relationships, financial problems - the list is endless. We often wonder, 'How do I handle this?'
Long ago I gave up trying to figure out problems on my own; I can't see the big picture and know what the Lord is doing; I try, I can't. Therefore, I need to walk by faith and trust God. Sounds easy, but it isn't as any truthful believer will tell you. We want to roll up our sleeves and fix it. We soon discover that we can't force a fix.
Several years ago I was sitting at my desk looking out the window as a big storm tore through. This is rare in Southern California. I have a wide view from the window above my desk and could see the big dark clouds gather for 'a hit'. There is a climbing rose bush outside my window which clings to a fence and a beautiful peach colored rose was dancing on a vine. I had great empathy for this beautiful rose as I watched it being whipped by the wind and pelted by rain. I wanted it to survive the storm, in tact. I too want to survive the storms in my life without being torn apart.
There are a lot of ways we can be torn apart - physically, emotionally, financially - devastation comes in many forms. We, like the rose are whipped around in this life here on earth. And it's no fun! We seem to be at the mercy of circumstances far beyond our control, and actually, we are. But we believers have discovered an astonishing truth. Because we have a relationship with the One who is in control, no matter what comes our way, we are able to experience a calmness that others don't understand.
Scripture tells us in Philippians 4 that the Lord is always near and we don't need to be anxious for anything because we can take our concerns to God in prayer. Once we do this, let go, stop trying to come up with a solution, just stop! It's in God's hands now. The answer to our prayers isn't always the one we expected or like; this is where faith enters and how we can stay calm and carry on.
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:7
I love the passage in John 15 where "the vine and branches" explains our relationship with the Lord. This passage came to mind as I watched my rose try to hold on through the storm. If we know a sovereign God, and by faith believe He has a perfect plan, often hidden from us, we have the peace that surpasses understanding. God is capable of working "all things together for good" for those who are His children, see Romans 8:28. Read all of Romans chapter 8, you will be so blessed.
In John 15, Jesus is the true vine and God the Father is the gardener. It is the Father who prunes us so we will grow fruit that will be to His glory. This pruning process usually isn't pleasant, but will ultimately produce a harvest of righteousness and peace - Hebrews 12:11.
Our part then is to stay connected to Jesus (the true vine) and trust Him. My little rose did survive the beating it took and the next morning was still connected to the vine with a small tear on one of the petals, a battle wound. I think it smiled at me as it bounced around in a soft breeze. And I smiled back.
Thank you Lord for always being in the midst of our storms. Remind us to come to you for love, protection and the peace and joy that can only come from YOU.