Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
You may have seen or read on the news around ten days ago about a winter storm that hit the US state of Virginia. The icy and snow-covered roads snarled the traffic, causing a number of accidents. On Interstate 95, this led to a traffic jam that stretched for some 80 kilometers, trapping many people in their cars for more than 24 hours. This was obviously in very cold weather, but the people could only periodically turn their cars on to warm themselves, or they would run out of gas.
The part of the US I am from experiences very cold and snowy winters. Something we always do when traveling during the winter is to include an emergency kit in the car in case of a storm such as happened in Virginia. This kit would include food, water, blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries, candles, etc. Having such a kit can make the difference between life and death.
This past Sunday we studied Psalm 77, written by Asaph, one of the worship leaders of ancient Israel. He described a time of severe suffering and trial. He doesn’t say specifically what this trial was, but making it worse was that he didn’t sense the presence of God with him. This is the focus of the first half of the psalm. In the second half, we see spiritual strength return to Asaph as he focuses his attention on the truth of who God is – holy and good, powerful, and caring. He remembers how God miraculously delivered the Israelites out of their slavery in Egypt, and then let them like a shepherd. As Asaph recalled the character of God and His mighty acts on behalf of His people, Asaph’s faith was renewed.
What is the connection between Asaph’s experience and being trapped in your car for hours during a winter storm? It is not only winter storms we may have to face occasionally; there are many storms that strike our lives – illness, loss of a job, a relationship that falls apart, etc. How we handle them depends in part on whether or not we have prepared in advance for such events.
Two weeks ago, the message was about being intentional in our use of time, including that we deliberately set aside time to nurture our relationship with God in prayer, the study of God’s word, and worship. We do this so that daily we experience the reality of God as we come to know God more deeply and more truly. And then an added benefit of this spiritual discipline is that we will be better prepared for the storms of life, which we all face but we rarely know in advance that they are coming.
Like having that emergency kit in the car provides for us in case of a winter storm, a deep foundation of spiritual growth based in the truth of who God is, of His love and faithfulness, will gives us the strength and confidence we need to successfully navigate the storms that strike us from time to time. So, let’s make sure we are laying that foundation for our lives!
Grace and peace,