Traveling back from Gainesville this weekend, my husband and I drove into some heavy rain. Now, I am the first to admit that, like driving in a snowstorm in the northeast, there is a definite learning curve to driving in a Florida rainstorm. But having lived here for eight years now, our entire family has learned how to deal with such an event. You do not put your emergency flashers on; instead you slow down to a reasonable speed for the conditions and put your headlights on. I also prefer to move into a right-hand lane.
On Saturday, I considered the storm a 5 or 6 out of 10. So, my husband and I were both surprised to see no fewer than ten vehicles pulled off to the side of the road as we went by. It made me wonder about the storms of life and how we respond to them. Do they paralyze us? Or do we call out the name of Jesus and turn to God for shelter in the storm? Do we remember to trust in His steadfast love and faithfulness? James tells us trials, or the storms of life, represent opportunities to draw closer to God and mature our faith. As our faith matures, our trust and confidence in God grow. We depend less on the world, the people around us, and our own abilities to calm the storm as we lean more on our Savior, the Lord of all creation, to go before us.
There are times in my life when I have pulled off to the side of the road. Times when Jesus wasn’t my song in the storm, and I tried to do it my way. Thankfully God is a patient and forgiving Father who waits to extend His hand to the child who says, “I realize I can’t do this on my own, Lord, I need your help.” But what of the times when we don’t get the answer we are crying out for? Times when it seems we don’t hear a response? In 1 John 5:14 we read, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will He hears us.” When we don’t get the answer we want, can we take comfort in knowing He hears us? Can that ever be enough? Praying according to God’s will takes faith, patience, and submission to His greater wisdom. Answers come in all sizes and shapes and we can miss our answer if we are looking only for the one we want. The fact is sometimes the answer is “no.” Sometimes it’s “wait” and sometimes it’s more than we can ask for or imagine.
So in the storms of life, when we don’t always receive everything we ask for, even when it seems to be in accordance with His Will, let us remember that faith is all about our relationship with the Lord. The goal of prayer is communion with God. Perhaps then, we may take comfort in knowing that He hears us in whatever we ask, and maybe there will be times when that is enough.