In the Midst


 For you have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. Isaiah 25:4 (KJV)

Gathered with my Circle of Friends this week amidst coffee and conversation we drifted upon the topic of when and how each of us had met.  We remembered who we had been and how time, experience and the love of God had transformed us into the people we have now become.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the remembrance of where I was in life when I had met one particular friend.  It is amazing to contemplate all the Lord has done in the last five years and how now, when I look back, I realize I am not even the same person.

“I was such a mess when we met!” I shared my inward thought outwardly, allowing everyone else in on the reason for my laughter. The room laughed along with me, mostly I think, in response to my own reaction to who I had been and perhaps in remembrance of who they had been five years ago as well.

I was surprised however when I made eye contact with the very friend I had initially been speaking to and realized that she had not joined in. Instead, her serious countenance took me off guard.  “What’s wrong?” I asked.  She said “You remember yourself being a mess…but all I can remember is how much God used you in my life.”  It was a sweet moment when, eyes locked in silence; we remembered what we had walked through together.  Then she said “and if you were that much of a mess and were able to help me so much just imagine how much of a mess I was!”

It’s good to be able to laugh at ourselves.

Isn’t it wonderful to realize that even in the midst of our mess, the Lord is still able and willing to use us to impact the lives of others in a positive way?

It causes me to think of Jesus and the disciples, in the boat, on the lake, in Mark 4:35-40.  The disciples were in the middle of a storm…but Jesus was in the middle of a storm too; He just reacted to the storm differently.

The way Jesus reacted to the Storm affected everyone in that boat.

The truth is, we all have storms on our way to “the other side.”  Like Jesus, the way we react to the storms within our own lives, and the lives of those that the Lord calls us to walk beside matters.

Sometimes in the midst of our own storms we can feel as if the waves are so high and the wind  so strong that it takes every bit of strength that we have to keep our heads above the water.  Inevitably however, in the very midst of our mess, Jesus will bring our attention to someone who fell out of the boat in the midst of their own storm and is in danger of drowning.

Although we may not always be able to calm the wind and the waves in the storms of life that others face, even in the midst of our own mess, we can continue to offer prayer, encouragement and unconditional love to others in the midst of their messes. We can extend the offer to together cling to the very one who remains our life preserver.

And so it seems to go in my Circle of Friends.  The storms rage on and off in each of our lives as we continue to journey “to the other side.”  And even in the midst, we surround each other with love, encouragement and support.

Thank you Father for my Circle of Friends

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