By Maria Sarver, Ghana Team, Ghana, South Africa
I sure do like a rain shower, don’t you? I love the cool breeze that comes after a rain—especially here in Ghana, West Africa.
But storms—now, that’s a different story. Storms can do lots of damage. A few years back, our church auditorium was a tent. One Monday night we had a terrible storm with violent winds. Our meeting place was torn apart.
Sometimes storms come into our lives. This past year was a year of what one might call “storms” for our family. In June, I came down with malaria for the first time after having been in Africa for six years. I was fairly helpless for nearly a week.
In July, our five-year-old daughter Joy had a grand mal seizure. In August she had a second. In a third-world country, this was very scary to experience. We were unable to get the help we needed in Ghana and had to make an unexpected trip to the States for an examination and treatment. Several other things happened that left us with fears and questions.
Sometimes I would pray, “Lord, when I surrendered to come to Ghana, I was not signing up for this!” The Lord had lots of lessons to teach me. Though I didn’t always have the right attitude, God was patient with me and gently led me and gave me what I needed for each moment.
I know many who are in very difficult storms right now. Maybe my “storms” seem like a “rain shower” compared to yours. But still, my hope is that some thought from this article will be a help to you.
I love Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” The Lord is not only present, but He is VERY present! He is there waiting to help us! Many times I thought, “What more can happen? I can’t handle anything else!” And then something else WOULD come! One important lesson I learned this last year was that I couldn’t make it on my own. Only God could get me through the storm. I thank God for always being here for me.
God’s Word was such a help to me this last year. It was my lifeline! I was hungry for it. In the Psalms, God gave me precious promises like Psalm 55:22, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Psalms such as 34, 37, 40, 71, 91, 121 and 139 encouraged me.
In addition to His presence and His Word, God has also miraculously provided what our family has needed during our storms. God gave us financial wisdom in preparation for the storm. He gave us favor with doctors and hospitals. He provided for our airfare. He gave us pastors and leaders to guide us. He gave us so many friends to encourage us and to pray for us. As promised, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) We have been continuously amazed and humbled at the graciousness of our Heavenly Father.
As we faced our storms, my mom shared with me a poem written by Isobel Kuhn that has been a special blessing to me.
Child of My love, lean hard,
And let Me feel the pressure of thy care,
I know thy burden, child; I shaped it,
Poised in Mine own hand, made no proportion
In its weight to thine unaided strength;
For even as I laid it on I said,
‘I shall be near, and while she leans on Me,
This burden shall be Mine, not hers;
So shall I keep My child within the circling arms of Mine own love.’
Here lay it down,
Nor fear to impose it on a shoulder
Which upholds the government of worlds.
Yet closer come,
Thou art not near enough;
I would embrace thy care,
So I might feel My child reposing on My breast.
Thou lovest Me? I know it.Doubt not.Then,
But, loving Me, lean hard.
Green Leaf in Drought
In the storm, God has embraced me with His presence, His promises, and His provision. My dear friend, look to Him in your storm. I believe He will do the same for you!