Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What if the storm never ends?

One of my long-time favorite Christian songs is “Praise You in This Storm” by Casting Crowns. Here is the chorus:

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

(Full lyrics here. Listen here.)

I always liked this song because it reminded me that God is still God and He still loves me, even if I’m going through a hard time. And it also reminded me that storms are temporary, and God will see me through them. But what if the storm isn’t temporary?!?

When I first became ill with a mysterious illness, over 12 years ago, this song spoke to my heart and gave me much encouragement. I continued to praise God, and trust that He would deliver me from the “storm” of my illness. Well, all these years later, not only am I still sick, but I’ve now been diagnosed with a chronic illness, meaning that I’ll never recover (barring a literal miracle.) So, now, my “temporary storm” is something that will be with me for the rest of my life. What do I do now? Where is my hope, if the “storm” will never end?

Well, the message is the same: God is still God, and He still loves me. He is still worthy of praise. God is unchanging. He is the rock on which I stand. Yes, my life is not what I had hoped or planned for, but that doesn’t change the reality of who God is or how much He loves me. The fact that my illness will be with me until I die (barring a miracle ;-) doesn’t change any of this.

The only thing that has changed is how I look at my illness: I can’t think of it as a “temporary storm” anymore. It’s just my life now; it's my new normal. There will be other “storms” that God will see me through. In the meantime, God is with me as I walk out this part of my life, just as He was with me when I was healthy.

We all have things in our lives that we thought were temporary storms, only to find out that they never went away. Maybe it’s a chronic illness, like me. Maybe it’s a loved one who died from an illness, or who has never been delivered from alcoholism or addiction. So what we hoped was temporary became permanent. But it still doesn’t change who God is. He promised that He would never leave us, and He won’t. If the “storm” becomes your life, then accept it as your new normal, and stand firm in the knowledge that God is with you and is holding you and carrying you every step of the way. 

So, even though the “storm” doesn’t end, God is still with us. The “storm” simply becomes our normal “weather” and we keep trusting and praising God. Because God’s promises never change, even if the weather does!