As I was out walking and talking with God in my happy place down by the river, I noticed the mess that was all around me. Some was caught in the plants by the river and some of it was floating in the river. The rushes, which I adore, were flattened in places and there were huge gaps when they had once been standing tall and swaying in the wind so gracefully. This was the damage and devastation that was left by the flooding we had at Christmas and then again, a few weeks ago. It was a sad sight to be honest!
We have had a lot of storms over the last little while in terms of the weather and then of course the biggest storm of all, Covid19! The storms have come and hit us hard and left our ‘stuff’ scattered about in the open, on display, just like in the natural. For many of us that is so obvious as people we know or even ourselves are struggling with our mental health right now. For others that stuff may look like the fallout from having no work and not being able to keep on top of things. For others, their stuff may be hidden and even though they have tried to stuff it all in and keep it ‘under control’ it keep it’s bursting at the seams to come out.
Life can be like this and as Christians we know we are not called to a trouble-free life and that the troubles of the world very much affect us. But, we have the Holy Spirit who is our comforter and source of joy, a jot that is not dependant on our circumstances but on the fact that we are saved for all eternity and get to live with a steadfast hope and assurance in this and a day today relationship with Jesus who is not far off but close at hand.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
It has been a season of shaking and these are not our favourite seasons, but we know that God can do so much in us in these seasons. In actual fact, during a shaking God can use it to bring things to the surface that lay hidden deep within us, just like all the debris left after the storm. It all rises to the surface and lays there until it is dealt with. God in His kindness reveals the stuff we need to deal with to be healthy in spirit and to move forward in our walk with Him.
Job 12:22 He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light.
With God, because He is a good dad, there is always a purpose in the shaking seasons. The good news is that God is in the redemption business, it’s who He is and He uses every situation we go through to grow through. So, we really need to focus on the good in the stormy shaking seasons and be asking God the questions…
What are you doing in me through this season/experience I’m going through? How will it bear fruit for the Kingdom?
I felt God say that “everything that can be shaken will be shaken, this is a shakedown”. I wasn’t sure what shakedown meant so looked it up on good old Google and immediately knew it was referring to a testing time…
A shakedown is a period of testing or a trial journey undergone by a ship, aircraft or other craft and its crew before being declared operational. Statistically, a proportion of the components will fail after a relatively short period of use, and those that survive this period can be expected to last for a much longer, and more importantly, predictable life-span.
We spend so much of our time during a shaking season holding on for dear life and often blaming God for what is happening to us, or questioning why He allowed this to happen to us when in actual fact it is just one of life’s many twists and turns that the Father is able to use for our growth. We could go under if we allow the enemy to make us hold our fists up to God and blame Him for what is happening. We need to take hold of any offence or disappointment with God and deal with that otherwise the very work God is doing in us will be thwarted as we turn against Him and blame Him.
Don’t let God’s shakedown become the enemy’s takedown!
For many this has been a time of testing and preparation for what is to come next and God has been refining you, sifting you and bringing stuff to the surface that needs to be dealt with. We can come come out of the shaking ready to hit the ground running and ready for the new thing that He is doing. Without this precious preparation time you would not last the course and would potentially get shipwrecked on route. God is building character within you that will set you up for the adventure ahead. He is giving you your seas legs!
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
I pray that as you read this you will realise that…
Not everything that happens in a storm is bad!
How we come out of this shaking season is key!
Don’t let God’s shakedown become the enemies takedown!
Let us be those who hold on tight to God in the shaking and hear what He is doing in us that will bear fruit in the next part of the adventure with Him. Let us run the race that He has set out for us and keep our eyes on the prize.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.