Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Treasure of the Storms ~ by Amy Vest {Repost}

Re-post Introduction Note:

My heart stands in awe...  Jesus knows exactly what we need to get us where we will experience the most joy, He will receive the most glory, and others will be the most blessed. 
This is hitting me in deep ways today... He is so trustworthy with our lives and the safest place is to be surrendered in His hands. For me personally, the past months have been filled with mountain tops and valleys, and in them all, my Shepherd has known just what I need to keep me close to His heart. {Psalm 23}
The following blog post is an edited repost from a few years past - and I believe these truths now more than ever and look forward to years ahead with Jesus, discovering the treasure of the storms.


            It is often the things that we never would have chosen on our own that end up being the biggest blessings.  There is a beauty that comes through the storms of life that cannot be produced in any other way.  The Lord allows these storms out of His deep heart of love in order to accomplish His perfect will in our lives.

            This truth has been very vivid and a source of strength to me recently.  Over the past few months, as a result of many different things, I have experienced various health problems.  While it is something that I never would have anticipated or asked for on my own, the Lord has used it in more ways than I ever could have imagined.

            Suffering has become a sweet door for the Lord to teach me many things I don’t know if I would have learned otherwise, as well as an avenue to remind me of some foundational truths.  It is true that the storms will come in life, the Lord has a special plan for them, and your perspective and response determine the outcome.  Deep in my heart I hope that what is shared below will encourage you to embrace the trails in life with joy because you know the treasures from the Lord that they hold – and my heart wants to remember them with you.

- We see the Lord for Who He is and have an opportunity to draw closer to His heart.
            There was one night I could not sleep as a result of pain.  I lay on the couch looking up at the stars through the windows with tears involuntarily streaming down my face.  As I lay there and began to talk with the Lord, beautiful things began to take place.  I could sense that the Lord was so near to me, and found again the treasured reality that He is the Friend that never leaves you or forsakes you and the One Who comforts you in your pain and uplifts you in your trials.  As I communed with the Lord in my pain, a thought hit me and the tears began to flow all the harder.  The physical pain of what Jesus went through on Calvary became just a little more real to me in my state and resulted in thanking the Lord in a new way, with a whole new gratitude for what He suffered for me.

- We find that He is all that we need.
            There have been times when I was required to stay home from different events and sit out of certain activities as a result of my health.  Through being “withdrawn” from normal social activity, I saw in a fresh way that the Lord is all that I need.  He is totally fulfilling and Who He is satisfies the deepest longings of our hearts.  It can be so easy to find delight in people, activities, etc. and without realizing it, allow ourselves to try to have the needs of our heart met in those things.  This will only result in feelings of dissatisfaction and emptiness.  It is as we delight in the Lord that Who He is will meet the desires of our hearts!  “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalms 37:4

- It causes us to remember and focus on what really matters.
            Facing pain helped to sweep the shallow distractions of life aside.  Being forced to step back from some of the things that I would normally do, caused me to reflect afresh on what is really important.  With the busyness of life, it can be so easy to get caught up in the commotion of each moment and become distracted with things that really are not that important.  I was reminded that it is the Lord and His Word, people and their souls, and fulfilling God’s will for me and what will last for eternity, that really matter.  I want so much to keep this perspective every moment of my life!  If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.Colossians 3:1-2

- It gives us an opportunity to become more like Jesus. 
            The key is how we respond to suffering.  Oh, that our hearts will be soft and moldable like clay in the hands of a potter!  His refiner’s fire is meant to strip away the “dross” of our self and allow the “gold” of Jesus to shine all the brighter through our lives.  The Lord wants to use the things that He allows in our lives to make us more like Jesus as we cling to Him in suffering.  The more we are surrendered and willing to let Him work in us, the more beautiful the results will be!  The goal is that it will be more and more of Jesus and less and less of us.

- We are drawn closer to the Lord.
            There is something about trials that draws you so close to the heart of the Savior.  One night, as I was lying in bed still experiencing pain, the Lord’s presence was with me in such a real and deep way.  It was so sweet and I had such a sense that I was in the center of His loving will.  I longed that I could always be in this state.  “Lord,” I said, “If pain brings this result, I am willing to go through this as much as You want.”  “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”  Philippians 3:10

            In studying Mark 4, the Lord brought a beautiful analogy that gave a sweet picture of a special part of what this “storm” in my life has been about.And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.  But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”  And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”  Mark 4:37-41

            The Lord revealed that just as His disciples saw Who He was as a result of the physical storm, so He allows us to go through the storms in life so that we see and are reminded of Who He is.  He does this out of love and for our best.  We so desperately need to be reminded again and again that He is all that we need, He is the only One worth living for with all that we are, and He is the only One it truly matters if we please.  So often we forget these truths, which causes us to worry and try to deal with things on our own.  There are many times that we are like the disciples; worrying about sinking, trying to deal with the problem, and then finally turning to Jesus when we realize we can’t do it on our own.  As we keep our gaze on Jesus and His Truth, we will experience and find peace in Who He is!

I have come to see suffering as my friend.  So many treasures have come from the pain.  There is such a peace in knowing that I am in the Hands of the One Who is fully trustworthy and loves me more than I can ever comprehend.  I am grateful for this “storm”, for it has as allowed me to come to know my Savior in new ways and caused me to exclaim with the disciples, “What manner of man is this?”
            In the days ahead, may we view every circumstance of our lives as an exciting opportunity to draw closer to the heart of the Lord, know Him more, depend on Him in new ways, become more like Him, glorify Him, and allow His perfect will to be accomplished in our lives!  As a result, we will find more meaning in life than we have ever known and will begin to discover the treasure of the storms.

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