Do you know that if you listen, you will find that He answers?
Last night, during a time of prayer, this is where He led me:
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!
May He send you help from the sanctuary and support you from Zion!
May He remember all your meal offerings and find your burnt offerings acceptable! -Selah
May He grand your heart's desire and fulfill all your counsel!
We will sing for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.
Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.
Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.
They have bowed down and fallen, but we have risen and stood upright.
Save, O Lord;
May the King answer us in the day we call.
As I read and prayed through this Scripture, a couple of points jumped out. First, the rescue comes from the sanctuary; from the Lord's own hand. HE is our refuge and strength. HE is our help in times of trouble. Plans and preparations and organizations can be tools in His hand, but our eyes need to be fixed on Him for our direction and our ears tuned to Him for which way we should turn.
Secondly, the Lord called me to remember that as we sing for joy over victory, that implies a defeated ENEMY. Y'all. The enemy is not fire or storm or people. The enemy, the one that seeks to steal, kill, and destroy, is not a circumstance or a hardship or a nasty person. Our enemy is the one who would USE those things against us to rob us of our inheritance as children of God: hope, peace, kindness, faith, love, assurance, the mind and character of Christ. But we are promised that what the enemy means for evil God can USE for our good. These storms, these fires, look at the response to them. Yes, there has been devastation. Yes, there has been loss. That is not to be diminished. The circumstances are awful. But what has also resulted has been love, unity, selflessness, prioritization of those things God prioritizes, removal of idols, exposure of the false so that the True shines, conquering of fear. We will sing for joy over your victory and in the name of our God we will set up our banners!!!!
I have seen many demanding of God that He make Hurricane Irma go away. Not gonna lie, that would make life so much easier. But I have come to understand that she is not my enemy. She is a tool in the hand of my victorious God to accomplish His purposes, though the enemy may foolishly think it may accomplish his. He will save us, indeed. Let us recognize that, like the disciples in the boat on the raging sea, it may very well be that He saves us THROUGH the storm, not FROM it. Yes, the winds and the waves know His name and obey him. The question is, do we??
As I read the accounts in Matthew 8, Mark 4, and Luke 8 of that popular Bible story, it strikes me that we may have missed something. Most of us take away,"See? Jesus made the storm calm for them; He can do that for you, too!" Umm...yeah, He did do that. He did that in order to point out to them Who He was. They marvelled after He did it that the wind and waves obeyed. But what did HE say after He did it? "Where is your faith?"
My dear friends, He didn't calm the storm because they were perishing. He calmed the storm that they may see what they had failed to recognize: that He who had the power to calm the storm was with them. Y'all. He was taking a nap while they were running around terrified. Why? Because He knew His Father was sovereign. He trusted that sovereignty. He believed to the point of peace that nothing would befall Him that the Father had not already turned to use for His good. The disciples hadn't gotten that yet. They didn't grasp that Jesus and the Father were one, and that He was right there in the storm with them. They didn't see that they were no more safe after the storm ceased than they had been while it raged.
So, I am thankful. I am grateful that He has allowed me to see that whether Hurricane Irma dissipates or buzz-saws through town, I am no more safe in the first case than in the second. I am no less safe in the second case than in the first. In both cases, my Sovereign God has, is, and will continue to use anything that the enemy means for my harm and will turn it for my good. He may cleanse me of idols, teach me true absence of fear, build trust in His strength in the face of my own weakness, weed out selfishness, break down barriers between myself and others...the list is long because He is endlessly creative and I am endlessly in need of being transformed into His likeness.
When this storm has passed, I look forward with confidence to saying that the King has answered us in the day that we called and singing for joy over the victories He has won for us.