When the storms of life come, as they will for all of us, don’t be afraid to trust God. As a matter of fact, I have noticed that God is closest to us, and most powerfully with us, when we are hurting. Maybe it’s partly because we are more open to trusting in God during our suffering. When we stop asking why God let this bad thing happen, and stop blaming past events, we open the door to hope. We need to always open the door to trusting in what good God can bring out of our suffering.
I also believe we can experience the overwhelming love of God when we are hurting. God is like a loving parent holding each one of us, and gazing upon us with great joy. Loving parents want desperately to be with their children when their children are in pain.
Have you heard the story of how one of the most popular gospel songs of all time, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” came to be written by Thomas Dorsey in the 1930’s? In August of 1932, Dorsey was scheduled to be the featured soloist for a congregation in St Louis, MO. His wife was expecting a baby at the time, and he was worried about leaving her at home in Chicago. He said later that, “Something was telling him to stay.”
But he decided to keep his engagement, and go to St. Louis anyway. During his performance that evening, he received a telegram from Western Union. Upon opening it, he received the horrific news: “Your wife just died.”
He quickly returned home to Chicago, and learned that his wife had given birth to their first-born son just before she died. Later that night, his newborn son died as well.
He buried Nettie and his son in the same casket. Then Dorsey fell apart. For days he closed himself off from the world. He felt God had done him a great injustice. He kept crying out to God for understanding, for a reason, for something to make sense of his life.
But then one day he sat down at a piano. His fingers began to browse over the keys, and he said he felt something strange and peaceful had overcome him. He felt as though he could reach out and touch God. He found himself playing a melody that he had never heard before, and words suddenly came into his mind to fit the melody.
They just seem to fall in place as he wrote: “Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn; through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light.” He suddenly felt like a whole person.
Dorsey, in this song, went on to reaffirm his faith in God. Dorsey was absolutely convinced that the melody and words came directly from God. He believed God was sharing divine life with him. Dorsey went on to write over four hundred gospel songs. (James Moore, The Top Ten List for Christians, pp. 84-86)
One of the greatest messages of the Bible: When the storms of life come, fear not. The Bible contains 365 verses (one for each day of the year) with the phrase, “Do not be afraid.” Do not be afraid to cry out to God, trusting God, for that is the first step to living in the peace of Christ.
Rev. Tom Cici is the pastor at First Christian Church of Hoopeston (502 E. Main St). Please go to www.fcchoopeston.org for inspirational sermons and much more.