Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Singing Through The Rain

Gabrielle ~ June 2012

"Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord.  Then some...stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.  Early in the morning...as they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, 'Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in His prophets and you will be successful.' After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: 
'Give thanks to the Lord,
    for His love endures forever.'
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord...He [brought victory]." 

2 Chronicles 20

A few times a year where we live, especially during the spring and summer seasons, we have a "severe weather/tornado warning".  My kids know the drill when the warning sounds from the television:  quickly get your most valuable things and head to the basement playroom until the warning is over.  We all stay close together and, if the electricity hasn't gone out, we turn on The Weather Channel to watch updates on the unwelcome storm. 

Being the The Weather Channel meteorological geek that I am, I find storms fascinating.  As long as nobody is being harmed, I love watching weather miracles unfold. 

"He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
    He sends lightning with the rain 

    and brings out the wind from His storehouses."

Psalm 135:7

It is quite different, however, when you find yourself seeking shelter from a storm. Frightened and feeling vulnerable, watching a storm and being in its path are two different things.  

My go-to passage when facing a storm or menacing enemy is 2 Chronicles 20.  Full of God's truth and His victory plan for battle, 2 Chronicles 20 reminds us to meet an approaching storm with prayer, fasting and praising the Lord in song.  I love that Jehoshaphat appointed a worship team to lead the people in song as they approached the vast army in front of them.  Hello life lesson.
"For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  
We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You. ” 
2 Chronicles 20:12

Recently one evening upon hearing the storm/tornado warning on our television, my children and I went calmly but quickly into storm mode.  We grabbed our Bibles, the children's portrait above our fire place, our dog, a few of our favorite things and our electronic devices with chargers and headed to the basement.  Joshua and Gabrielle were frightened but knew what to do and handled the warning with great responsibility.  With pounding rain and clashes of lightning and thunder outside, Joshua and Gabrielle went to safe shelter in the basement.

Realizing I had left a flashlight upstairs, I ran back up to the kitchen.  Gabrielle shouted, "Mom, hurry up. I want you with me."  Taking a little longer than Gabrielle would have wanted me to, she snuggled up with her blanket, pillow, Bible and flashlight while I was still upstairs.  Assuring her that I'd be right down to snuggle with her, I heard her start to sing:

"Holy is the Lord God Almighty,
the earth is filled with His glory."

Her tender voice embraced me as I made my way down the stairs to the basement playroom.  With her blanket sweetly wrapped around her face and holding her Bible and flashlight in her hand, she sang praises to our Maker in the midst of the approaching storm.  

"We stand and lift up our hands, 
for the joy of the Lord is our strength.
We bow down and worship Him now,
how great, how awesome is He."

She knew.  Instinctively, Gabrielle's heart knew to sing to the Lord as "the vast army" approached...or in this case as a dangerous storm ruthlessly knocked on the door of our home.  Joshua and I sat down next to Gabrielle and we joined her in singing to the Lord as the thunder roared and the lightning lit up the night sky.

With a lump in my throat and tears streaming down my face, I quietly thanked the Lord for His faithfulness.  His children's battle plan is straightforward:  keeping our eyes on Him through prayer, fasting and praising Him in song.

Like it did that day for Jehoshaphat and God's people, our storm ended and we were able to dwell safely in our home. Psalm 107 shows us that, as we cry out to Him in our distress, He stills the storm to a whisper and He leads us to our desired haven.  God is our Defender (2 Chronicles 20:29), who He gives us peace and rest on every side.  (2 Chronicles 20:30)

Gabrielle reminded her mommy to sing praises to Jesus in the midst of life's storms.  Aside from Christ, we have no power to face a storm.  Not knowing what to do in and of ourselves, we keep our eyes are fixed on Him in prayer, fasting and praise.

Then they cried out to the 
Lord in their trouble,
    and He brought them out of their distress. 
He stilled the storm to a whisper;

    the waves of the sea were hushed. 
They were glad when it grew calm,

    and He guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love 

    and His wonderful deeds for men.

Psalm 107:28-31