And I’ve answered with a deep, confident knowing, “Yes, I’ve seen the Lord … during the hard times in my life. Dryness and darkness. Trial and turmoil. Storm and suffering. ‘Clouds’ that obscure everything and everyone else … except the Lord.”
What bad thing has swept into your life, rendering you helpless?
Instead of being delivered, did your loved one die from cancer?
a feud erupted in your family?
a betrayal occurred in your marriage?
a rebellion challenged your parenting?
an untimely end come to your pregnancy?
a severance taken you from your job?
a military deployment deprived you of your loved ones?
Besides feeling totally helpless, what has been your reaction? Are you defiantly standing in the midst of the swirling circumstances, yelling in your spirit, Why did You let this bad thing happen? Or maybe you’re withdrawing into a shell of denial and depression, hoping that things won’t get any worse.
I have heard that a turkey and an eagle react differently to the threat of a storm. A turkey runs under the barn, hoping the storm won’t come near. An eagle leaves the security of its nest, spreads its wings and rides the air currents of the storm, knowing its wings will carry it higher in the sky than it could soar on its own. Based on your reaction to what has happened in your life, which are you–a turkey or an eagle?
It’s natural for me to be a turkey in my emotions, but I have chosen to be an eagle in my spirit. And as I have spread my wings of faith to embrace the “wind,” placing my trust in Jesus and Jesus alone, I have experienced quiet, “everyday” miracles:
His joy has balanced my pain,
His power has lifted my burden,
His peace has calmed my worries,
His grace has been more than adequate to cover me,
His strength has been sufficient to carry me though,
His love has bathed my wounds like a healing balm …
And through it all, I have seen the Lord!
IN THE DESERT
- Describe a spiritual desert. See Exodus 15:22; 16:2–3.
- Where did God’s people see the Lord in Exodus 16:10?
- Describe John’s “desert” in Revelation 1:9. What was his experience there according to Revelation 1:9–16?
- Can you think of a time when you were spiritually dry, cut off from all that was familiar, yet you met God in a fresh way?
- How are you encouraged by Isaiah 35:6? Exodus 17:1–6? Genesis 21:14–20? ?
IN THE DARKNESS
- When have you floundered in the darkness of confusion or temptation, disappointment or depression?
- What did God promise His people in Exodus 19:9?
- How was Jonah in the dark, and what was his testimony in Jonah 2:1–3:2? The psalmist in Psalm 40:2? Daniel in Daniel 6:1–28? Lazarus in John 11:14, 33–35, 38–44?
- How are you encouraged by Exodus 20:21? Psalm 97:2? 2 Samuel 22:29?
IN THE STORM IN THE STORM
- What storms of disease, death, divorce, disaster or other upheavals have come into your life? See Proverbs 1:27
- Describe Ezekiel’s storm in Ezekiel 1:1–5, and whom he saw in Ezekiel 1:25–28.
- Describe the storm and the unique experience of the three young Hebrew men in Daniel 3:1–25.
- Describe Peter’s storm in Matthew 14:22–33 and what he discovered as a result.
- What do you learn about storms from these descriptions? From Job 40:6? Proverbs 10:25? Nahum 1:3?
- What does Jesus teach you from His own example in Luke 8:22–25?
ON THE MOUNTAIN
While I understand that mountains can represent peaks and high points in our lives, they can also represent difficulties, obstacles, hardship and stress because of the effort required to climb them.
Name some mountains in your life right now.
How are you encouraged by Exodus 34:1–5? Genesis 22:14? Mark 9:2–8?
The Bible says, “Now we see through a glass darkly … but one day we will see Him face to face” (Cf. 1 Corinthians 13:12). Ask God to give you eyes to see the Lord even now in the midst of your desert, darkness, storm and mountain-sized hardship. Then open your eyes and look expectantly for Him.