Blog

Dec
02
PEACE IN THE STORM

temp-post-image

A few years ago my personal hero was given a fatal blow. This blow would bring him down and engage him in a battle that would eventually take his life. The hero that I speak of is my beloved father. One of the greatest men that has ever walked this green earth. My father, Randall Lockhart, was diagnosed with CLL or Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. His blood became a breeding ground for rogue white blood cells that wouldn’t do their job.

I watched him suffer through all of this. Through the good days and the bad he always kept a smile upon his face. His attitude was always positive. Some people he had contact with on a regular basis didn’t even know he was sick. This was just how my father lived his life.

At his retirement party at Wal-Mart he was completely blown away by the things people said about him. It’s because he didn’t put on a front. He wasn’t fake or made up in his conduct. No matter where you saw Randall Lockhart, you saw the real deal. He was the most genuine man I’ve ever known in all my life. I took great pride in being his son!

There did come a time, however, that God decided that he needed my father more than we did. On March 17th in a bed at Hospice, God called my super hero home to be with Him. From this point on I had a decision to make. How was I going to respond?

I prayed for my father every day. I prayed that God would restore his health, restore his life to him, and bless him mightily. If often felt as if my prayers were water being cast upon a stone wall only to run off of it. It felt as if God didn’t hear my prayers; like He turned a blind ear to all of us that were interceding on our knees, begging Him to restore my dad. We watched in dismay as my dad’s health begin to steadily get worse and worse. All of us on the front lines, praying and begging on his behalf, watched in dismay as our prayers were being brushed aside. Our faith didn’t waver a single bit because we all knew he would be cured of this cancer. Then, we watched him pass away.

How would those closest to him respond? I could just as easily turn my back on the One Who said in Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Well, where is the good in death? Where is the good in the loss of godly, humble, great men of God?

It was in the hour following my dad’s passing that two paths lay before me. I could hold my tiny little clenched fist up to the air and sling curses at God. I could blame Him for the loss of my father. I could build anger and resentment into a virtual wall between myself and my Creator God. I could do any of the following and feel justified.

Or, I could get on my knees and give praise. I could lay on my face and cry at my Savior’s feet, asking for His comfort and peace that He promised me. I could choose to love my Heavenly Father more now than ever.

I know from studying scripture that God hates death as much as we do. We read in John 11 that Jesus looks around at all the hurting people and the circumstances that brought that hurt when Lazarus died. The scriptures say He wept and then did something about it. 1 Corinthians 15:25 calls death the last enemy.

"For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. [...] So when this corruptible has put on incorruption and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law." (1 Corinthians 15:25–26, 54–56)

I know that the death of anyone is not part of God’s plan. Death has come about because of sin and rebellion to God. Everyone will eventually come to death. It’s not God’s fault; it’s ours. I know that death, sickness, circumstances, and natural disasters are all punishment for sin. God is Just. That is one of His attributes and He MUST punish sin. It’s Who He is! Along with that Justice we know that He is Merciful, He withholds deserved punishment. He is also gracious; He gives great gifts to those who don’t deserve it. Praise God that He provided a solution to this death and suffering through His Son Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus’ work on the cross, we can have eternal life. If we will repent, turn from our sins, and believe that Jesus is the Son of God and accept His gift of eternal life. All of that is what my father did. Because of this, I know I will see him again.

So how can we do it? How can we be at peace when the storms and challenges of life hurt us? How can we have peace in the midst of the storms of life? The answer is so simple yet so difficult to master. Philippians 4:4, 6-7 gives us a mighty blueprint to weathering storms. The first is found in verse 4.

"Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice."

Simple right? Well when you’re in the storm it’s anything but simple. To rejoice and give God positive praise through hard times is an enigma to anyone that’s watching you weather the storm.

Do you remember when Peter walked on water? In Matthew 14:22-33, Peter and the rest of the disciples were being tossed about in a storm. Jesus came to them walking on the water and Peter wanted to come out with Him. So Peter asked Jesus to command him to walk out and that is exactly what Jesus did. “Come” was Jesus’ reply, and Peter did just that. Except, well, let’s just check in with the book of Matthew to see the outcome.

"And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me."

Peter was too caught up with his circumstances to actually enjoy the pleasure of walking with his God. When that became real to him he immediately sank. This happens to us too! Too often we are looking at our circumstances and we lose sight of the One Who is in control of all of it. If we keep our eyes on God, then it is totally possible to praise Him during your darkest moments.

Verses 6-7 Give us another step in the process.

"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."

This part of the process to weathering the storm is to not break contact with God. Don’t give up in your prayer life. We must pray every anxiety away with thankfulness over every concern. As I watched my father slip away I prayed that God would suddenly restore him. With each prayer for intercession I thanked the Lord for giving me the best dad ever. I brought up times of precious memory to my God and thanked Him for it. I know that If God had wanted, He could have raised my father out of that bed and restored his health. This was not the Creator God’s will for our lives, however. With each prayer I offered my God, I was always thankful.

Verse 7 is something I cannot explain. It is something you’ll have to experience for yourself. Verse 7 says;

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

After dad passed away this overwhelming peace saturated my soul. I cannot explain it. I knew my dad was finally at rest. No more struggling to live. No more pain or fear. He was at last home with his Creator God Who no doubt welcomed him with open arms and said “Well done good and faithful one. Enter into my heaven and stay with me!” In the arms of Creator God! Wow what a thought!

This peace that I received is amazing. I don’t have to make perfect sense of my situation; I just have to rest in the arms of my savior knowing that He is in control of all things. Good or bad, He is the master over the storm. All I know is that I need to cry out to Him to save me. To hold me tight and never leave His side. Then together we will watch as the storm passes us by.

During your next storm you will face a crossroads. Will you wave your tiny hand in the air, fist clenched in rebellion for what you are experiencing? Or will you retreat to your refuge, an infinitely strong God Who will help you weather the storm. The choice is yours but your decision will directly influence how you walk out of it.

Oh, and as for my dad, I WILL see him again. And I’m looking forward to it!

God bless,

Scott Lockhart