Let me tell you about belief.
Have you ever watched the sky after a storm? The wind has yet to die down, and it carries pale clouds against a midnight sky, lit from within by flashes of lightening. The air is both still and still a little electric; there is tension between the chaos that ensued and the calm that’s replaced it. Everything is hazy, droplets cling to the field of vision before you, to your skin and your eyelashes. The trees are still talking. Can you hear them?
There is stillness after a storm, a place to be and to breathe in the night air, clean and calm. But the stillness is only on the surface, there is a cacophony underneath that only those who bore witness to the storm as it buffeted the trees and blew their branches to the ground can begin to understand. Being lashed by the wind and soaked by the rain does no permanent damage, but it takes a little while for your skin and your soul to dry out, for your legs to stand steady again after straining against the wall of wind to carry you home.
I’m reminded again of the night that Peter jumped out of the boat. He only began to feel the wind and the rain, and to fear the pain they might leave him with, when he took his eyes off of the One who called him out upon the waves, the One who later stills a storm with a Word. The sermon today at Midtown – our last Sunday at Midtown – was about the fruits of unbelief. Unbelief, Randy said, drives us to urgency, and when unbelief is married with urgency, it does damage to our souls. That is when the cold sets into our bones, sleeping in from rain-soaked skin, and when our limbs begin to tremble, weary of the weight of the wind. By living out of unbelief, we are taking our belief from God and anchoring it in our own plan, which cannot stand against the storms.
Anchoring our belief in Christ allows us to hear the call and step out of the boat, no heed to the wind and the waves, the sky or the storm. Anchoring our belief in Christ allows us to be battered, shaken, stormed upon, without ever losing hope in the goodness of His plan.
April has been a stormy month in my world. My dad told me last week that he believes I am learning the discipline of holding things. I loved that. I believe so, too. I am learning to hold, and not hold on. Clinging to control in the middle of the storm is the epitome of unbelief. Holding the storm in the palm of an upraised hand and saying God, this does not feel good, and it does not make sense to me, but it is Your plan and You are good – is belief.
It is choosing to see the sky beyond the storm.