In the past week Sydney suffered some of the worst storms in a while; covering the city with dark black clouds for a week. For me personally, the week looked much the same internally. I had piled up deadlines, demanding stakeholders and constant issues having to be sorted out. I felt as though I was getting deeper in my workload and couldn't seem to see the sunlight in this busy period.
Despite understanding the presence of God, I found myself getting quite overwhelmed at the situation at hand… Until Friday morning. The sky cleared, the sun came out (literally) and stopped me in my tracks on the way to work when I looked up. The sunshine and morning air did more than dry up the rain; it made me see beyond my emails and to do list for the day; it made me focus on God.
In Mark 4 verses 38–40 (NIV) there is the following story of Jesus asleep in the boat travelling across the Sea of Galilee whilst the disciples found themselves in a storm.
"A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, "Teacher is it nothing to you that we're going down?" Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, "Quiet! Settle down!" The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: "Why are you such cowards? Don't you have any faith at all?"
Similarly to the disciples, I found myself this week – freaking out and getting incredibly stressed out to tears until I realised that I wasn't ever called to do this alone. The sun (God) hadn't moved in my situation; I just couldn't see him because I was all too focused on the circumstance than on the "maker of heaven and earth" who will not let my foot slip – who watches over me (and you) and will not slumber through our battles (Psalm 121 verse 1–3)
This being said, seasons that will test my character, patience and ability to trust God through it all aren't once in a lifetime; rather constant. I have learnt 3 things when I cannot see the sun through the clouds:
1. Remove the magnifying glass
Attention to detail can be a strong quality, often even highlighted in job interviews. This same quality can be detrimental however, if we miss the bigger picture. Often we look at our situations with a big magnifying glass across it and seemingly forget about the rest of the wheels in motion, or even perspective.
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6: verses 25–27 (NIV)
2. Resolve to look up
Choosing to seek God is exactly that, a choice. I know personally, I have had days and even weeks where I have felt so far away from him – but I constantly get reminded that he is only as far as I choose. By looking up and seeking him; we are actively giving ourselves space to see our situations from his perspective and also find that God is still in control.
"I can never be lost to Your Spirit! I can never get away from my God! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the morning winds to the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, your strength will support me." Psalm 139 verses 7-10 (TLB)
3. Rest in God's strength – One of the hardest
Someone once told me, if God hasn't failed you yet, what makes you think he will fail you now. Often we think that God can't handle our issues or isn't big enough to deal with the situation – but he is after all, the one who has nations in the palm of his hand.
"All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations." Psalm 22 verses 27–28 (NIV)
Choosing to trust that, leaning into that and letting God take control of a situation is all we can ever do – I know I'm having to, as a daily choice.
Meenal Chandra is a Sydney based writer who is grateful that beyond the clouds, the sun is still shining.
Meenal Chandra's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/meenal-chandra.html