The storm began as powdered-sugar frosting on the fir trees and hydrangeas

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and meringue silently topping every rooftop.

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Then the north-west wind began to howl and push the accumulating flakes into drifts like dunes of sand.


The storm blurs the outlines of trees into ghosts wrapped by white, wraith-like fingers.


As the wind begins to blow straight and hard, the edges of the road and the horizon disappear.

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Some of us experience blizzards, but all of us live through the kind of storms that don’t show up on the radar:

when you walk down the dark, basement stairs and find frozen, broken pipes have flooded the floor,

when you watch a parent slide down the rocky slope of Alzheimer’s,

when a forever-promised spouse seeks “greener” spaces,

when a child walks the prodigal road,

when the doctor begins a conversation with “I’m sorry.  There’s nothing else we can do.”

All is white.  All is storm.

We find ourselves in distress.

The disciples were terrified as they found themselves in distress in the middle of a storm (and some of these men fished for a living!).

Then [Jesus] got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”   Matthew 8:23-27   NIV

Jesus amazed them, even after all the miracles they’d recently witnessed.  After they were safe on shore, I wonder if they remembered David’s prescient Psalm.

Some went out on the sea in ships;
they were merchants on the mighty waters.
They saw the works of the Lord,
his wonderful deeds in the deep.
For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
in their peril their courage melted away.
They reeled and staggered like drunkards;
they were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
    the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.

Psalm 107:  23-30   NIV

When we’re in distress, the dictionary explains that we suffer “great pain, anxiety, or sorrow.”  The common Latin word, from which “distress” arrives, is districtus, which means  “divided in mind.”

Like the disciples, who watched a miracle one day and watched their courage melt away the next.

Like us.


We are divided in our minds.  We trust Jesus’ care for us when the sun shines, but in the middle of the storm, we question God’s power and goodness.

. . . because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.   James 1:6

The good news is the Lord knows all about our storm-tossed faith.  In Psalm 107 this refrain repeats.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.

Even after God’s people rebelled and despised His plans, (Psalm 107:11) God’s love wraps around them.   This is the other phrase that repeats:

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love

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The antonym for “distress” is “comfort.”

The antidote for distress (a divided mind) in the white-out, stormy times is giving thanks and wrapping yourself in the comfort of God’s warm love.

The Lord’s comfort is a quilt made with the scraps of fear and doubt, high waves and deep drifts, trust and faith, all stitched together with God’s unfailing love.

linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee

Coffee for Your Heart 150

linking with Holley Gerth at

Posted on February 9, 2014, in Devotional and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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