Where I live, we are situated ridiculously close to Heaven.  At least, that's what I like to think.  Anyone who lives near the top of a hill or mountain knows what I am talking about.  We're not exactly living on Mount Everest, but from where we're sitting, we have an up-close and personal relationship with the sky.  Which explains why, when storms come (as they did all day yesterday), it feels as if everything is closer than before.  It's as if the earth and sky conversate right outside my window.  It's an awe-inspiring thing and it leaves me feeling intimately closer to my Creator. 

Just like being closer to Heaven makes the storms seem bigger and louder, being closer to the Savior brings bigger and louder storms.  If you've ever experienced what I'm talking about, you know exactly what I mean when I say that the storms you face as you draw closer to the Father are the ones that matter most.  They're the ones that cause you to dig in deep, to define who you are and Who you're living for.  Although these storms are often the most difficult, they're completely worth it.

I've been through a spiritual storm or two.  I've had my questions and my doubts.  But instead of drawing me away from God, I allowed them to give me a deeper glance of who God was in my life. 

I was reading a Christian magazine which discussed what St. John of the Cross referred to as "the dark night of the soul".  It's a time of great spiritual pain and doubt that often leads into a deeper relationship with Christ.  As I was reading about the dark night of the soul, I grew excited.  I felt reassured that the storms of my life had a purpose, that they were ultimately doing more for my walk with Christ than I even imagined.  I was surprised, yet very blessed, by the stories of other Christians who experienced the same season in their spiritual walks.  People I admire (like Lauren Talley, Jeff Easter, Sheri Easter, and Rebecca Isaacs Bowman) had all experienced storms as gateways into a greater understanding of who Christ was in their lives.

In Luke 8:22-25, the disciples faced a storm.  Although it was a physical storm as opposed to a spiritual one, the lesson derived from the experience remains the same.  As the winds and waters were rising against them, they grew fearful.  But instead of relying on their own power to get through the storm or huddling in a corner and giving up all hope, they ran to Jesus.  When they woke Him up, their outlook wasn't all that great.  They thought they were going to die right then and there.  But when Jesus awoke, they watched as He calmed the same storm they feared.  The storm they had almost lost their lives to was stopped by the Savior.

Can you imagine what an awesome sight that would be?  Can you imagine what a boost of faith that would inspire?  After witnessing what He was capable of, how could the disciples not have renewed faith that this was the Son of God?  How could they question His power or His love for them now that He had used such power to save their lives? 

They had to experience the storm in order for Jesus to show what He was capable of.  In our spiritual walks, as we draw closer to God, we are going to go through some things.  We are going to experience some dark nights of the soul.  But rest assured that our Father is always in control and a storm is just an opportunity to grow closer to Him.  God will show up and show off.  He knows what He is doing, so have some faith and dig in deep.  The ride is wild, but it's worth it.  God bless.     

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