Occasionally, I have to move furniture around to accommodate the changes. I picked up this little habit from my mother-in-law. Everytime I visited her home it looked completely different. Couches moved to the other side of the room, tables from one room moved to another, lampshades changed out, color schemes switched. It was like walking into a new house – and always arranged with the most exquisite taste.
One time, I actually got to be a part of helping transform the living room. What a job! In the transition process, it was quite a mess. She had a plan, though, and it wasn’t until the last pillow was in place, that one realized how perfect the new plan was. She would look over her work, well pleased – and already planning how she would re-arrange things in another couple of weeks.
Re-arrange. Change. A cup filled with equal portions of sweet and sour. Like – a storm.
When I was a little girl, I was afraid of thunderstorms. They were so loud – the thunder startling me; the lightning flashes shocking me. Sometimes the rumbling seemed to shake the house. There was such a deep sense of anxiety within my little heart as I was forced to wait out these violent outbursts of nature.
Mother told me the thunder was nothing to be afraid of because it was just God re-arranging the furniture in Heaven. Such comforting words gave my little brain something to think about as I pictured a great, robed, old man with flowing long gray hair and beard pushing couches and tables to and fro on the clouds.
Eventually, I learned the truth from one of the kids at school. Her mother had told her that thunder was actually God bowling. More fodder for thought and bizarre pictures in my mind’s eye.
Thankfully, science class presented me with a totally logical explanation of the phenomenon. But, for this little girl – I still couldn’t get the idea out of my mind that behind it all – God was at work in some way. Of course, though I grew to discount the furniture moving and bowling hypothosis, I just couldn’t get the words of my mom’s favorite hymn out of my head:
Oh, Lord, My God,
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works
Thy hands have made
I see the stars,
I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed.
Storms, thunder, rumbling anxiety within; startling, shocking, in some cases. Cloud vapors are being transformed – re-arranged and changed into water, a necessity for life and growth. And, at the end of the storm, when those clouds finally clear, and the rumblings roll away allowing the sun to peak through with comforting rays of warmth and light . . . a rainbow.
Lately, it seems everyone I’m talking to is experiencing some sort of a storm. God – moving furniture – re-arranging – changing. In the midst of the storms, anxiety rumbles and upsets interior furnishings in people’s hearts. Transformation from one season to another is messy business – like my living room on the day I’m changing seasonal decor. The status quo is jostled and overturned. A new work replaces an old work..
Thankfully, as with the thunderstorm, God is behind the whole thing. Through these life-storms, things are cleared away, like last season’s decor – that which seemed important for a time. Things are moved about, like our comfortable routines – a job, a ministry, a loved one, a lifestyle, a worldview, the state of the union.
In awesome wonder, consider – these are the works of God’s hands, re-arranging the decor for a new season. Greet the storm with the words of Jesus, who spoke with calm reserve to the fierce winds, jostling waves, and thundering skies by saying, “Peace. Be still.” He had a plan that would not be thwarted. He planned to get to the other side of the sea, storms though, there may be.
Are you finding that your furniture and decor is being changed – re-arranged? New job? No job? New relationship? Suddenly, no relationship? Unexpected windfall? Unexpected expense? Lifestyle adjustments? Worldviews in a whirl? Government shutdowns? Society going to hell in a handbasket? Whether good or bad, every fresh circumstance brings change in some area of our lives. Some changing and re-arranging is welcome – perhaps the long awaited answer to prayer – a refreshing, gentle shower. Some, may not be quite so welcome – the violent thunderstorm aforementioned. Seeing all as the works of God’s hands for ultimately accomplishing His perfect purposes in our lives provides opportunities to exercise our faith – with peace – being still – confident that God intends for us to successfully get to the other side of the sea stronger and better equipped to move forward than when we first set out.