Tag Archives: calm in the storm

Beginning at the end

I suppose I’ve always been this way:

  • Shaking the presents to guess what’s inside.
  • Reading the last line of a comic strip to see if it’s funny enough to read the whole thing.
  • Reading the last chapter of a book first or the final concluding paragraph of an article.
  • Actually walking down the entire buffet line before I choose “buffet.”

Some of you understand. Maybe you belong to a family where you only tell the punchline and everyone laughs because they’ve heard the story so many times. Some of you are shaking your heads in disdain, saying it’s the process that counts as much as the end result. And you are right. Sometimes the ending is spoiled when we know it too soon. If you knew all along “the butler did it”, where is the mystery?

Whether it’s waiting for Christmas morning, waiting for kids to grow up, or waiting for an answer to prayer, we have this desire to skip to the end.  I’ve heard some say that whether it’s good news or bad, they just want to know so they can move on to the point they can actually do something.

Though it often escapes us, there is purpose in waiting. Waiting provides for us, protects us, and prepares us.

Waiting provides valuable lessons that can’t be learned in the instant gratification lane. Besides teaching me patience, a virtue few of us enjoy learning, waiting provides me with a renewed sense of perspective. It causes me to realize I’m not in control of everything, not even my own life. There are situations where the only control I have is how I respond to the situation. We aren’t always the captain of our own destiny. Waiting teaches us that God is God; I’m not. It provides greater blessing when I would have chosen less.

Waiting protects us. I recall a number of times when my delay was actually the hand of God protecting me from a poor choice, a bad relationship, or an unforeseen accident down the road. Sometimes we have to wait for certain doors to open because we aren’t ready for what’s on the other side. Sometimes, if we push too hard, we open a door not meant for us, revealing real dangers we hadn’t anticipated in our eagerness to pass through. Imagining the consequence of our choice helps us to wait patiently.

Waiting prepares us. Imagine trying to pass a test without studying and learning the material. Consider the consequences of being promoted too quickly to a job only to find you lacked experience to be successful. Reflect on the plight of being thrust into marriage too soon. Waiting prepares us for a future we’re unready for now. It affords the opportunity to build not only our knowledge and skills, but our character.  Just as we wait for a fruit tree to produce good fruit, so waiting produces good results in our lives.

So which is better, waiting or skipping to the end? As with most of life, the best answer may not be “either/or” but “both/and.”  As difficult as it is to wait, especially in the darkest times, it’s helpful to skip to the end of the bible and read the conclusion of the story. “God wins!” Our God who sees you and me right where we are, who knows our pain and every temptation that faces us – this same Mighty God will work good for all those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. He will lead you through the valley of the shadow of death.  He will show you the way to go because you have not been there before. The end of this chapter of my life is not evident just now. But the end of my story – and all who trust God – is clearly revealed. The power of God’s Spirit gives us peace in the middle of the storm and secures our hope, “as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19)

While you are waiting in difficult times, go ahead and skip to the end of the story and see that it is well with your soul.


Beauty everywhere



White Fireworks – Thayerapy Gardens


“Beauty is everywhere when you know where to look for it.”

– Alice Herz-Sommer, 1903-2014

Beloved Pianist and Holocaust Survivor


Do you believe beauty is everywhere if you know where to look for it? If you lost loved ones to the Holocaust and were imprisoned yourself, would that still be your view?


It seems that few if any escape the prison that suffering brings. Be it for a day or a lifetime, torturous or merely a nagging interruption to a joyful life, be it physical, emotional, relational, or spiritual – we all come to know some degree of suffering and pain, for some a sorrow that enshrouds their entire world. It can become a darkness where little light seems to penetrate. But a holocaust survivor says she finds beauty everywhere. Another shares, “When you come out of Hell, you realize there are only a few important things in life: life itself, relationships, and faith.”


Actually, when it comes down to brass tacks, what choice do we have in the crucible of pain, sorrow, and suffering? We can’t escape it. It will demand we attend to it. But do we have to be crushed by it? Is there a way to transcend its vise grip on us? Can we choose to rise above it, to find our “more than a conqueror” spirit we are promised? Can we choose, like Job, to praise God while we scrape away the boils of pain that wrack our bodies and souls?


I don’t know of anyone who can do this in their own power, most certainly not me! In the midst of cancer I told God six times, “I give up. Take me home. I’m done with this.” I am convinced that my pain was small compared to what others’ endure and yet it was real enough for me. And each of those times, He held me patiently and lovingly, reminding me that His grace is indeed sufficient, even if I don’t sense it. We don’t have to sense God’s love for it to be real any more than a child who defies you even as you love them dearly.


I’ve decided to believe God at His Word even though I’m too feeble to understand it. His supernatural power within us continues to sustain us, no matter what this life throws at us. It is a calming peace that transcends all understanding. It might not calm the storm raging within us. But it is able to calm us in the middle of the storm. I don’t think it is a heroic act to believe this. I think it is a choice of faith if not desperation that in the midst of the darkness, His light will shine and reveal beauty yet to be found. What other choice would you make?


“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10


And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7