John 16:33 (ESV)
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
A family had lost their home in a tornado; some friends helped them clean up what was left. There wasn't much. Where their house had once stood was a refrigerator. That's all. Destruction was everywhere. Debris covered the yard and the nearby woods. All day they sorted through the rubble, hoping to find intact some piece of their lives. Sadly they only rescued a few belongings. They uncovered some important papers, a few small personal items, and a handful of photos - not very much to represent an entire lifetime. I'm sure the family treasured those mementos because they're all that remains from their pre-tornado life.
Like the devastating winds of a tornado, I've felt trouble beat against my life. Hardships blow into every life, threatening to knock down all that we value. In the wreckage, we can usually find some valuable treasures, if our eyes are open to recognize them and our hearts are open to receive them.
As long as we're in this world, we will have tribulation. (John 16:33) But this Bible verse also says, "In me you may have peace." How can we have peace amid tribulation? Peace doesn't result from the removal of unpleasant circumstances. It comes from releasing our own plans and being open to God's plan. Rest comes from fixing our eyes on Him instead of on circumstances. It comes from giving up on living for myself and living for Him instead.
From God's vantage point, there is no true debris. I'm confident that He is in the midst of any storm, and I try to keep my eyes on Him to see the gift He gives with the rubble. He has promised that, for those who love Him, He'll bring blessings out of storms.
Dear Lord, thank You that when we look around us and see all the debris we can trust that You are there to rescue us no matter how bad it is. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.