Remember our focal passage:
“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them” ~ Numbers 11:1-3, NASB.
Yesterday, in the introduction to our study, we looked at the journey of Israel during the first one to two years of their travels after leaving Egypt, considering their tendency to complain when storms come to life, as is our own tendency, bringing difficulty to our days and adding to the force of the winds we face. Today we begin our journey to discover what we can learn that will help us to join the Father in the eye of such storms, where calm and peaceful waters reside.
The things I am about to share with you come mostly from personal experience. I went through a season of many storms flying all around me – divorce within the family circle, parental aging issues, etc.: it was overwhelming. These particular storms were brought on by other people’s choices and beliefs, things I could do little or nothing about. Seeing these things so out of my control, I wound up being tossed and torn by them. Hear me now, I was tossed and torn BECAUSE OF my mentality toward fretting, complaining, and the want-to-fix-it. With these emotional responses to the situations, my own decisions in dealing with and coping with the situations did not always lend help in the storm and often aided in stirring up more wind.
One day, as I found myself again telling God all that was going on, I realized that my eyes were so snared by the raging winds that all I was accomplishing was to complain in the ears of God. If you ever feel like your prayers are just hitting the ceiling, perhaps a complaining, ungrateful, faithless spirit is the issue. Realizing that fact about myself set me on a journey in which I learned how to lay such issues at God’s feet and entrust them to Him.
The eye of the storm is made up of trust in and full reliance upon God with confidence in Him to use the situation for good.
On my journey from the point of realizing my complaining spirit – a sign of lack of faith to trust God and one of disrespect for Him and His position in my life – progressing from a complaining spirit to that of entering into and remaining in the Eye, at rest, I went through years of feeling like I was praying little because it was all said and there was nothing left to add. The best I could do was to rest it with God and wait: wait to see what He would do.
I know this is true in all situations and at all times, but in that season of my life, I became acutely aware of “the best I could do”. Many of my prayers consisted of, “Lord, here it is. I trust You.” I might have to lay the situation down several times a day, praying more for my responses in the storms than for the situations stirring them. But as I did that, I found myself resting more and more in the Eye of the storm, under His Wings.
As I think on that, I realize anew that we are called to be a people that remain under the wings of God. Think about that.
In life, the time we most often see a chick under its mother’s wing is when there is an evident and present danger: a predator in the area or in the midst of a storm, or when there is need for provision to sustain life (example: the need of warmth). The enemy lion, Satan, is always on the prowl, roaring to see if he can stir up his prey. And this life, fueled by fleshly desires, worldly ways, and demonic influence, constantly rages to stir up storms all around us. Therefore, as the people of God, reliant on Him, it is vital that we learn to live, remain, and function from the position of His protective cover and provision that sustains Life.
Another important aspect I learned about entering the eye of a storm is that of receiving and believing revealed promises of God, especially those He gives me personally in regard to a particular situation.
It helps me greatly when I can say as, for example, with a prodigal son, “Here he is again, Lord. I trust You; for You have promised me that You will deal with him as with a son and that Your lovingkindness will never leave him” (2 Samuel 7:14-15). We even see this portrayed for us in many of the prayers of Moses, as he often reminded God of His promises toward His people and the need for Him to not give the enemy opportunity to gloat (Exodus 33 *:12-17*; Numbers 14:13-19).
Yes, I have learned much about God through the storms of life, and as I have grown to more quickly relinquish difficulty and enter the eye of the storm, I have learned still more about how to remain there and what to do while there. Now that we have entered calmer waters through trust and belief, calling God’s attention to His promises and to His honor, return to join me in the next posting as we continue to look at being in the hearing of the Lord in ways that keep us in the Eye of life’s storms.