November 13, 2017
by Pastor Chuck Swindoll
During the last few months, natural disasters have battered North America.
Wildfires have ravaged Northern and Southern California and the Pacific
Northwest. Death and destruction piled high as the ground shook in Mexico.
Hurricane after hurricane tore through South Texas and other parts of North
America, including all of Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Neighborhoods where children once played and moms strolled their babies
have been destroyed. Rows of houses have turned into muddy, molding
mountains of debris.
Families are still without their utilities, as they dig through the rubble.
They'll be cleaning up for months . . . perhaps years.
None of us knows if or when we may one day have to sift through the
wreckage that was once our life's treasures. We may or may not
endure that particular devastation firsthand. But we do know this: we all have to endure hardships of one kind or another throughout our
The sudden death of a loved one, job loss, betrayal by a close friend,
bankruptcy, serious illness, divorce—none of these whirlwinds appear on the
radar before they strike. All of them leave us with the daunting task of
picking up the pieces. What helps us rebuild after such storms? What is
absolutely essential to cleaning up the mess and moving forward?
Vision—the ability to see God's presence, perceive God's power, and focus on
God's plan despite the obstacles. The keen-eyed prophet Nahum envisioned
God's presence in the storm:
The LORD has His way
In the whirlwind and in the storm,
And the clouds are the dust of his feet.
(Nahum 1:3, NKJV)
Can you see God sovereignly at work in your storm? If your vision
is blurred by tears, it may be very difficult. I understand. More
importantly, God does. It's hard to see beyond the mountain of wreckage in
front of you. What I like to call the "alphabet of vision" may help sharpen
Attitude. Stay positive. Rather than panic, pray with deep sincerity: "Lord, this
is Your moment. This is where You take charge. I will trust You today and in the days to come."
Belief. Believe that God will get you through. Have confidence in His Word. God,
in His grace, will enable you to step up and do what's needed.
Capacity. Be willing to be stretched. S-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d! In adversity, God
will stretch your capacity to accomplish more than you ever thought
Determination. Hang tough when the going gets rough. No magic wand is available to make
everything new again. Determination helps you lock your eyes on God's
vision, and go for it!
In The Obstacle Is the Way, Ryan Holiday tells of the fire that
destroyed Thomas Edison's research facility:
Fueled by the strange chemicals in the various buildings, green and yellow
flames shot up six and seven stories, threatening to destroy the entire
empire Edison had spent his life building.
Edison calmly but quickly made his way to the fire . . . looking for his
son. "Go get your mother and all her friends," he told his son with
childlike excitement. "They'll never see a fire like this again." 1
Don't you love Edison's positive response? Instead of breaking him, the
disaster invigorated him!
As he told a reporter the next day, he wasn't too old to make a fresh
start. "I've been through a lot of things like this. It prevents a man from
being afflicted with ennui."2
Edison was right. Ennui—that weary, sluggish feeling that results
from having nothing challenging to do—is an affliction to beware of as you
age . . . and remember: You're never too old to make a fresh start!
Edison was 67 when fire devastated his laboratory. The Old
Testament's Caleb was 85 when he declared, "If the LORD is with
me, I will drive [the enemies] out of the land, just as the LORD said"
(Joshua 14:12, NLT). Caleb locked his eyes on God's vision for him and took
the mountain the Lord had promised!
Right now, you're hurting. You may need time just to grieve. Eventually,
though, you'll need to rebuild, and that process begins with seeing God's
presence in the storm and His plan through the storm. He
has not abandoned you! He is your comfort. He is the peace you're aching
for. He is the strength you need to start fresh.
Won't you open your eyes to what God has in store for you? After the storm
. . . rebuild!