The weather stormed hard and loud last night. Thunder boomed and lightning lit up the sky. Of course, I didn’t hear or see it because I was sleeping harder than the storm.
This morning my wife commented, “So I guess you didn’t hear the terrible storm.”
Later my daughter Sophie—who is sixteen—mentioned the storm too. But what she said so arrested me I had to repeat what she said again and again, thinking about its profound spiritual application.
In her sense of humor, she said, “Last night I had to give myself over to the storm. It was so bad and I was so tired I pulled up the covers and had to say ‘take me now if you must’ and I went back to sleep.”
In this unassuming and humorous moment, I found an arresting degree of semblance to the ultimate Christian experience: resignation to the gracious, sovereign hand of God. Sophie probably didn’t realize the underlying meaning of what she said. She just wanted to get to sleep. Yet still what she said in her bed carries the essence of hope and faith we each need to exercise in our most difficult moments, entrusting ourselves to He in whom we’ve placed our hope.
I’m reminded of Paul’s similar words in 1 Corinthians 9. Read them and notice the same kind of hopeful resignation he describes, though in a far more treacherous and imminent deadly circumstance than a lightning storm in May.
1 Corinthians 9:8-10
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction which occurred in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead, 10 who rescued us from so great a danger of death, and will rescue us, He on whom we have set our hope.
Paul shows how faith in God’s loving care redefined his experience of affliction. He saw inside the excessive burdens of his life a compulsion to turn Godward, when all hope of self-trust faded away in the relentless thunder and lightning of persecution. He and others gave over to the storm and God’s will for their ultimate good. He and they knew the One on whom they set their hope could and would even raise them again.
Like Paul and Sophie, in a myriad of situations, we can exercise this important response of trust and hope, and then rest in His care.