We compare life’s hard times to storms. They can be storms of light summer rain, category 5 hurricanes, and everything in between. They might come and go, and like the light summer rain thunderstorms, the clouds might immediately part and you can go on with your life, your plans. It might just have been a minor setback, a misunderstanding of some sort, and once the rain has stopped, you’re free to keep going. You see the puddles left over, but you’re able to go around them. You get a little muddy, but you go home, take a shower and feel as good as new.
But what about the hurricanes? What about the category 5 storms you’re not even ready for? You know the ones I mean. They come out of nowhere and wreak havoc on your entire life. They spew rain. Flooding. Tornadoes. The power goes out. Trees fall. You have to leave your home without time to take anything that really truly matters. If you don’t have time to leave, you’re stuck on your roof, waiting for rescue from anyone who might come.
The thing worst thing about hurricanes isn’t necessarily the storm itself. What’s worse is the damage, destruction, and loss that follows.
You have a major devastating event take place in your life. The hurricane. You’re caught off guard and quickly go into survival mode. When it’s happening, people are so aware. Your friends show up. You do what you can just to keep going. There is a certain type of panic in the storm, and it is especially hard to have peace. You can’t help wonder what will be left and what will be destroyed.
As the storm clears and moves on, the sun begins to shine. This is when the news stories move on, and if we’re being honest, most friends do, too. They see that the time of your storm has passed, and you become less of an urgent priority. They are still great friends and still love you, but the focus of their attention has shifted. As you begin to make your way home, you realize your entire street had flooded. Frantically, you try to get to your house. Or what’s left of it.
For many people when a storm hits, it is the aftermath that is worst of all. There is so much uncertainty, stress, getting used to a new way of life. Your home is destroyed, and you’re left to pick up the pieces. What was once happy and comfortable is now moldy and cold. You wander through the mess, wondering if there is anything you can save. It’s incredibly painful at times, as happier memories are so tied to every item you must now throw away.
Once you are able to sort through your mess, an incredibly painful process itself, you begin to rebuild. It takes extensive cleaning and gutting. It can take so much longer than you thought. Cleaning and gutting aren’t fun. And when it is happening to you, it can be pretty painful. But as with the house, it is necessary for your own good. You certainly didn’t ask the storm to come, but it did. That was out of your control. The only thing that is in your control is how your home gets rebuilt.
You can do it the quick and easy way, hiring the cheaper contractors like alcohol and drugs. They come highly recommended by friends, but if you look closely, you’d see that it would take a small summer storm to cause some heavy damage in their home. You can do it the safe way, your way. You can take all the precautions and measure everything out. You can dedicate your time and your life to rebuilding your home. But the only problem is, you’re not a contractor. You don’t even know the first thing about this stuff, besides what you find on Google.
There is one other option though, but it’s risky. There is another contractor. The contractor. You’ve heard of him, maybe used him for a quick fix before, but never really got to know him. He comes very highly recommended by your friends in the most solid homes. He comes to you with understanding in his eyes. Love in his heart. He says that he can fix you up, no problem. The only thing is, you have to trust him. You don’t get to see the blueprints or designs. You don’t choose anything. You won’t have any idea how it’s going to turn out. But there is this peaceful assurance about him. A promise it will be the best for you. He’s sweet and genuine. He tells you he has references, lots of them, and hands you an entire Bible full. He tells you to ask the people you know personally who have let him build their homes. Their homes, their lives, tell of his faithfulness.
So, you take a risk. But since it’s your house, you’re there every day watching him rebuild it his way. You get to know him well. You ask him lots of questions, and he seems to know all the answers. You start to consider him a friend, and as you begin to see the first peeks of the rebuilding he’s doing, you start to trust him. You talk to him about your life and begin to take his advice. Soon, you’re talking to him about everything and he becomes a best friend.
Sometimes his work is quick, but most of the time it is well thought out and slower. But that’s okay, as you see how it is turning out. For some, he knocks down everything and builds something completely new and fresh. For others, especially people who’ve allowed him to work on parts of their homes before, he keeps the steady foundation he laid and works from there.
I believe God rebuilds and restores. He does different things for different people in different times. But his heart doesn’t change. He always does what is best for each of his children. He sees you in your storm and sees you in the aftermath of it. He is rebuilding you and restoring some things to you. He doesn’t restore things back to how they were before- he always gives them back better than we ever could have imagined. Hold onto that. When you see this, you become his reference to someone else entering their own aftermath of their own storm. Trust him. Get to know him. Lean on him, he will not let you fall. Gain a friend. Talk to him. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. He is the God who fulfills his promises to you.