Many Christians have what we call a life-verse. It is a passage of scripture, a chapter, or some may even have an entire book that connects with their lives. It sums up their world view or it is a promise to which they claim and cling. My life-verse is the forty-sixth chapter of Psalms. It begins, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Martin Luther declared that this entire chapter was the biblical basis for his hymn "A Mighty Fortress." That is why Tammy and I had this hymn played at our wedding and we opened her funeral with it. One day it will be played again at my funeral. Our God is a mighty fortress. My heart is lifted today to praise Him and lift Him higher. I want others to see how great is our God.
I am amazed by people who chase storms. I watch National Geographic as well as Discovery channel whenever they highlight storm chasers. I wonder what kind of fools get so close to the great tornados that sweep the great plains of this country. I want to make an observation. We spend a great amount of time running from trouble. We avoid them, pray to be spared from them, brace ourselves when we see them coming. Jesus did not do that. Jesus deliberately goes to wherever people are caught in life's swirling, tossing trouble. He really does draw near to those who are being crushed and broken.
In Mark chapter five, Jesus is getting out of a boat that landed on the far side of the Sea of Tiberius, Jesus saw a storm of trouble coming his way—a poor man who had been possessed and tormented by demons for some time. With a simple word, the demons were forced to relocate. Imagine the drama. Pigs squealing, people cursing, the wind sweeping the hillside, the terror of the dark spiritual world exposed: all make for a scene which makes the hair on your neck stand at attention. A man drops to the ground as if dead, when in fact he’s never been more alive. He is now free, seated at the feet of Jesus like a child full of amazement, endearing love, and wonder that will not allow him to take his wide eyes off of Jesus. Jesus’ disciples can’t take their wide eyes off the man. Their minds race as they try to figure out how they’re going to describe the scene to their wives when they get home.
As Jesus leaves the region, this man pleads to go with him. Jesus refuses, sending the man home back to his family as a "show and tell" project for God's power. The scripture says: "So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed." Today, I am amazed by this man's story. I’m amazed at a Savior who chases storms because he knows there are people in the vortex, people he alone can save. He is the Savior who is our refuge, one who saves and helps in our present trouble. He is my refuge and strength. I praise Him in my home and the surrounding cities because he alone sets me free. He alone is my comfort and help.
Last week I took Tyler to Union University for the second time. We moved him into a new apartment. We purchased new clothes, sheets, linens and junk food. It was not as emotionally difficult to take my son the second time, until we said goodbye. My tears flowed and we embraced again in prayer. I got in my truck, and every square inch of the interior reeked with loneliness. I didn’t want to be in that cab alone. This time I knew what to do. I prayed, "Lord, you are my very present help in times of trouble, I am not alone, you are here with me and you are my ‘enough.’ I trust you to go with me all the way home. I don't know where the feeling went, but it was gone. I didn’t hear squealing in the distance but I felt like a man sitting at the feet of Jesus in awe.
Thank You Lord Jesus for being a storm chaser for me!