The God who brings storms

A God who brings storms
The rain is pouring down here, smacking and smattering against the window like a thousand tiny pebbles, and the wind moans low, a groaning and aching. I am huddled in my bed, cosy-warm with the white duvet over my body, the whole house quiet save for the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard.

“I am The Lord, and there is no other”, the Bible says, and I remember that I can know Him, the one God who made the whole earth. Last summer, I was in Greece on holiday, and there was an evening sky streaked with orange and pink, the waves licking my bare feet, and I breathed out that phrase in awe, “He is The Lord, and there is no other”, because it is sunsets and sea that bring me back to the revelation that God is real and beautiful.

But today I am back at home, and it is winter, and the rain is battering the window.

“I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity.”

What do you do with that?

Sometimes I think that Christians don’t really know what is in the Bible. We sing of the God who speaks light into darkness, and that is true, and we speak of the God who brings peace, and that is true, and we sing of the God who paints sunsets, and that is also true, but what do you do with the other stuff?

“I make peace and create calamity.” He calms things down, and stirs them up. This doesn’t sound like the Christian God – this sounds like the Greek gods of myths and legends: capricious, malicious, swatting men in anger when they have lost a bet in heaven.

It sounds scary, but you do need to continue reading.

“Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together.
I, The Lord have created it.” (Is 45:8)

This tells us why he stirs things up. He is not capricious, like the gods of Greek myth. The kind of storms God creates are righteousness-storms.

I look out of the window at the dark sky, and the rain sounds like a machine gun. “Let the skies pour down righteousness.”

We sing our songs, and we think of a gentle mist, but the way that God’s righteousness comes is through a storm, through the sharp smacking of water and air onto a shocked and complacent earth.

“Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation” – that’s an earthquake. God splits the earth in order that righteousness may spring up.

I think of the ways in which my life feels like calamity, feels like being battered, and I wonder if it wasn’t evil after all, if it isn’t all meaningless, if there is perhaps a chance that it is the Lord himself shaking my soul into life. I prefer the gentle evenings of the mediterranean, and the songs in a major key with four simple chords are always easier to sing, but there is an energy here, too, even in the dark skies of angry midwinter, even within my dark heart. Perhaps it is not my heart that is being rattled, but the barriers I have put up around it.

Sometimes I wonder if that which feels like attack is actually salvation, bringing up fresh springs from a broken earth.

It is a strange salvation, this, to be shaken, to be split, to be rattled and slapped with fresh water. It is a strange salvation.

This was a meditation on Isaiah 45, especially vv6b-8, written during a Story Sessions write-in (on a very stormy day.)

[I mentioned on Facebook that my ME hasn’t been great this last month, and although I may not yet be in relapse-ville I am definitely in its suburbs. Life is looking decidedly quiet for me at the moment, which is why the blog has been slack of late… Thank you for your grace and your prayers! ]

Over to you:

  • Can you think of a time when it felt like you were being broken or attacked, only to realise in hindsight that God was bringing about good things, His righteousness/salvation?

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    32 Responses to The God who brings storms

    1. Alia Joy 11th February, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

      Oh friend, yes, so much and so often I know how it feels to be broken by a God who seems to rage storms more than quiet seas. I haven’t been around the blogosphere that much these past few months and life is happening and it all gets so busy and noisy and I get so tired too. But that’s another story for another time. I just wanted to pop in and let you know I miss you. My thoughts are with you as you cocoon. Thanks for sharing these parts too. They help.

      • Tanya 16th February, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

        Thanks so much for stopping by, friend. I have also been a bit behind on the whole blogosphere hanging-out thing, but it’s always SO nice to see your face! And I know you know you it is to be broken. Sending you much love in the busy-noisyness. X

    2. Rebecka 10th February, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

      Wonderful, beautiful post, Tanya. It really moved me.
      I’m feeling broken right now and I can’t say it feels like anything good will come out of it, but I hope and pray that it will. I look forward to looking back (strange sentence) and realising it did.

      • Tanya 16th February, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

        “I can’t say it feels like anything good will come out of it” – I think that’s always how it feels when we’re in the middle. I’m praying for you as you hold on in the middle of a rough and stormy sea – and praying that you will indeed be able to look back. Soon, Lord, please!

    3. marvia 9th February, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

      How true it is of God is a wonder and a mystery. He does bring calm, but he’s so with us in the raging storms. I enjoyed reading this because it reminded me of the shatterings that happen in our lives. He allows so much to come and shake us, break us, make us, and mold us, shape us, and inculcate that which is pure and holy and good – that we might bless others too.

      • Tanya 16th February, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

        The shatterings – yes. Such a good word. Thanks so much Marvia for coming by – I really appreciate it!

    4. Amy Young 8th February, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

      This was a balm in the midst of the whip-lashy week I’ve had 🙂

      • Tanya 16th February, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

        You’ve been on my heart so much this week. Praying, friend.

    5. Susan Schiller 7th February, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

      This is true grace… It is a strange salvation, this, to be shaken, to be split, to be rattled and slapped with fresh water. It is a strange salvation.”

      I’m grateful for the storms the Lord has brought into my life, like you said, to be awakened, delivered from the strongholds I’ve erected… Light fighting the darkness without me…

      Good words, Tanya, and beautiful!

      • Tanya 16th February, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

        Thank you, Susan! I really appreciate you taking the time to read. I always need reminding that I am prone to erecting strongholds. Sometimes I don’t know they’re there until they’re rattled.

    6. Lucy Mills 7th February, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

      Beautiful, Tanya…love “the sharp smacking of water and air onto a shocked and complacent earth.” And challenging too. So good to move beyond our platitudes and remember the awesome righteousness of God.

      • Tanya 16th February, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

        Thank you, Lucy! – I loved that line, too. I also find it challenging to refocus on the righteousness of God. It is indeed awesome.

    7. Cathy 7th February, 2014 at 12:21 am #

      Just want you to know that I am praying for you. Thanks for the sweet comments that fill my inbox, just like your posts. I’ve also been thinking about this idea lately. I am not sure that we can know for sure whether God brings a storm or whether it is of evil, but we do know that in all things He works for our good. I have noticed, along with Mark again, that I am of far more use to God, more compassionate, more sensitive, more capable of helping others, now that I have experienced challenges myself. When we were going through a hard time, I used to tell my daughters (and myself!) that God is in the business of making lemonade out of lemons. We live in a sinful world. A good friend of mine, who had a chronic illness for many years, coped by reminding herself (and us) that “this isn’t heaven, so why do we expect it to be perfect?” Recently, I have felt more “armored” by God, and I’m starting to wonder if it hasn’t been the result of the challenges I’ve faced. I certainly run to Him more quickly in my need, and I think that’s the idea.

      • Mark Allman 7th February, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

        You are exactly right. I am much more compassionate and sensitive towards that which I gone through fires with. I just wish it had not take a fire to burn that into my character.

        • Tanya 16th February, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

          “I just wish it hadn’t taken a fire” – me too!!

      • Tanya 16th February, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

        “This isn’t heaven, so why do we expect it to be perfect?” – this is really wise – a kind of tough wisdom. I think so often in the West we do expect it to be perfect, because our lives so nearly are (good food, safe environment, nice house etc.) It is probably healthy for us to be reminded every now and again that we’re not home yet.

        And thank you so much for your prayers – I really appreciate them. These last two weeks particularly I’ve felt unusually peaceful despite being in relapse-ville – I’m sure that’s because so many are praying for me.

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