A Storm Brewing

RSH 9498

It’s 6:30 AM and I’m sitting on my front porch as I write this post.  There is a storm brewing.  I can feel it from the stronger than normal breeze.  I can hear what sounds like freeway noise, but I know it’s not.  I can smell it in the air.  We need a storm.  The ground needs water to drink up and we could all use a break from this incessant heat.  And here I am complaining about the heat and it’s not yet July!  For anyone who’s ever been through an Atlanta summer, you know what I’m talking about.  The heat is coming, and it’s gonna be bad.

During this past week, I’ve thought a lot about that heat.  Somehow, it makes everything seem more intense, more heavy.  And of course that got me thinking about analogies that involve fire.  You know the ones, your feet being pressed to the fire, the burning bush that is not consumed of its fire, heck I’m even thinking about the Colorado wildfires that have been raging for over three weeks.  This is an excerpt from a morning article in the LA Times about the wildfires

Colorado is on fire. The state is roiling under the devilish orange-glow threat of at least six massive blazes that have forced thousands to evacuate. Fire officials said there was little chance of containment of the state’s largest and most destructive High Park fire any time soon.

Little chance of containment any time soon.

What is it about fires and storms?

They’re scary and devastating, and I wouldn’t wish a destructive storm or a wildfire on my worst enemy.  And yet, somehow, they are never all bad.  Storms that wreak havoc and destroy bring opportunities to  rebuild and often galvanize fractured groups to work toward common goals.  Wildfires are commonly allowed to burn to clear out years of dead wood and vegetation, again allowing life to regain entry into fallow ground.

But you know what?  When you’re in the midst of a storm or a fire, all you want is to get the heck out!

People have told Kevin and me a lot that we are so brave.  I have always found that odd.  I think of bravery as running into the fire, perhaps to rescue someone helpless and noble.  We didn’t run into this storm, it rages around us.  Trust me, there is NO WAY I would have run face forward into this storm if I knew what was coming.

But I suppose we actually did.

See, when we chose to put our faith in Jesus, He didn’t promise us a way out of the storm.  He didn’t promise us that fires would not blaze around us and scare the dickens out of us all the while.

No, He promises something so much more beautiful, and, frankly, life giving.  He promises us that the fires may burn, but they will not consume us, that the storms will rage, but we will not be broken.  He promises us that for as long as we live in a world of sin and brokenness, we will know sorrow.  He promise that!  Doesn’t that suck?

But I think, regardless of where you put your faith, we can all agree that this world really is filled with brokenness and sorrow.  There is absolutely beauty and joy to be seen everywhere we look, but there is grief and there is pain as well.  It is simply a part of the human experience.  And that, I think, is what I am working through right now.

We will fight this cancer as hard as we can.  When Kevin is weak, I try my hardest to be strong, and I will drag him across the finish line of whatever the next treatment is, because I am NOT giving up.  We will pray without ceasing that God chooses to keep him around here for a little while longer.  But we also know that that may not be the way things work out.  Kevin is not scared of dying.  He knows that he serves a good and gracious God and that he will be spending eternity with him, through the grace brought upon by our savior.  But we are both still scared of what life would look like without him.  What it would be for me, for our kids, for the friends and family and co-workers who know and love him.  We are so far from certain how this whole act will play out.  It’s high drama, folks, and I can’t tell you what will be the next twist or turn.

But I can say this.  Kevin can say this as well.  This is the only thing we can say with complete and absolute certainty.  God is good.

God. is. good.

No matter what, our God is good.  He loves us, He cares for us, He desires goodness in our lives.  And yet, the great mystery is that things pretty much suck right now.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know why us, why Kevin, why the cancer came back so quickly.  And quite frankly, why is a pointless question.  It may be different for other folks, and I don’t want to step on that, but for us, there’s just no use wondering.  We’ll never have an answer, not in this world at least.  So we cling to the one thing that does give us answers.

God is good.

All the time.

In our past.  In our present.  In our future.  In our fires and in our storms.

God is good.

Our unchanging Father who loves us more than life itself (He did, after all, give His up for us), He is good.  That’s it.  He is good.  There is nothing more to cling to, no huge analysis of this idea, simply that we are trusting in God’s goodness.  That’s all we have, and it’s enough.

15 thoughts on “A Storm Brewing

  1. Amen. and “Right On!!” So many times, all we can do is (as trite as it sounds), let go and let God….lead, comfort, guide, and we trust.

  2. Hi Rachel: I appreciate your update Rachel. In times like this I think of the book of Job (sp?). I can’t pull up details now from this bible story – you and Kevin are probably better at this than I am. My other thought: it is always darkest before the dawn. Here in Tucson we are suffering from the desert heat – 104 then 108 and now 110 degrees. The local people here tell me we need the heat to “pull up” the monsoon from Mexico. Strange as it may seem I now appreciate the heat for that reason. Your thoughts and prayers are beautiful Rachel and your trust is strong – may the medical team find a solution. Love, Irene

    • Aunt Irene, I cannot tell you how much I have appreciated each and every one of your comments. I know I don’t usually respond (I’ve only just figured out how to do it properly!) but know that I read and treasure them. Your support through all of this has meant so much.

  3. When I was in Willamsburg at the glass blowing hut, I was drawn to watching the fire and the enormous amount of heat that came from that small dome of an oven. It was so hot in there that it was almost white. The artist would put that rod in those flames and pull out this glowing white bulb. Each time he pulled it out he would mold it just a little, then put it back in the intense heat. With each time he pulled it out it became a different shape. The final visit in the flames you can see the shape of the glass more clearly. When he pulled it out for the last time he started to mold the glass into what he wanted his final product to look like. It was amazing to see and more stunning to look it. It was perfect in my eyes. Something I wanted for myself. Then he placed it in a cooling dome to set in its perfection. I can’t help but think of Kevin going through that process. Like you said God is good, and Kevin is strong. Not only physically but spiritually. He’s all in the Artist hands. I wouldn’t want to go through those flames, nobody would, but if we knew the perfection that would come out of it along knowing that God has his hands in controlling that, makes the heat more tolerable.

    • Such a beautiful story Lila. Thank you so much for sharing! I keep reading it over and over and it gives me encouragement.

  4. Rachel,
    So beautiful and true. God is Good! I am going to Selah on that for awhile… Thank you so much for sharing. We think of you and Kevin and speak your names every time we recite Psalm 91….

    • Thank you Chawn, I looked up the idea of selah, and though it was a word I’d come across in the Psalms, I hadn’t particularly considered what the idea really meant. I found an article that suggested one way of interpreting it would be simply to stop and listen. Another suggested to breathe. I like that a lot. Stopping and listening and breathing… to Selah. Thank you thank you for your thoughts and prayers. And kiss those kiddos for me, I bet they’re huge!

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  6. I am so blessed to see how God is walking you both through this process. You are right. At the end of the day, when all of our self-controlled comforts have been stripped away, we are left with that truth – God is good. And in that moment of realization we are invited to trust Him.

    • Thank you Donna. The trust really is the hardest part, and I have to remember that it is a constant and open invitation. I so appreciate your prayers and uplifting worship on Sundays.

  7. Rachel,
    Wow. And again, WOW! I only began reading your blog today and am deeply touched by your love and commitment to each other, to your families, to overcoming in your struggles, and your faith in God. I will be direct, I am NOT a believer and for me, that’s alright. Your faith though, it touches me. It is a strong faith, not built up in times of trouble or trials but seems to have been a simmering ember that the trials have blown up to an inferno. You don’t seem to believe in a “Santa Claus” god who gives gifts or a “genie” god who grants wishes.

    Yours, dear lady, appears to be an acceptance faith that genuinely moves mountains but you don’t ask for them to move, you simply accept that the mountain is where it is supposed to be. Yours appears to be a faith that accepts that your god is the right god and what is simply is.

    I am a simple man who accepts that what is simply is. Yours is through your faith and dear heart… your faith has even touched the mind of one who cannot see what you see. Please, keep up this blog, no matter the end result. You touch more then you can imagine! Joy to you and Kevin and your family. You do not struggle alone.

    • Hi Lawrence, thank you so much for sharing so openly. Your comments have touched me so deeply and it has lifted my own spirits to know that my words and my faith have encouraged another so much. I believe you are the Lawrence that I met at the Adair Park market who bought some homemade ice cream? I hope I’m right and that this means you and your partner are the ones who will be moving in very soon just one street up from us! I can’t wait to get to know you guys better; we are always excited for new neighbors!

      Yes, I struggle even with the idea of faith myself at times, and sometimes wonder if I even believe at all (holds hand to cheek… shocker!) But I think that’s what so great about God, that He doesn’t need me to always believe in Him. He doesn’t need me to believe He is good or in control or anything else for it to be so. And that definitely gives me great peace. Thank you thank you for commenting, you have made my day!

  8. Yup… and STILL loving the ice cream! We expect to close July 20th. You’ve inspired me to try to create my own rambling ruminations of a blog! I just got the domain name and am trying to learn the ins & outs of setting up/creating a blog type of webpage. While I HOPE to be as controlled in thought and word as you, I suspect (knowing me as well as I do!) that I will end up rant & raving… simply “babbling” on and on about things I happen to be passionate about that particular moment!

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