Recently in the city of Dallas, we have had horrific storms. About two weeks ago, we had a storm that left hundreds of thousands in our city without power for days and days. Giant trees were ripped out at their roots. Roofs were destroyed. There was no shortage of debris anywhere you looked.
As you drive around Dallas today, you can still see the wreckage of that storm. Branches and limbs are piled up on the sides of the road. Large limbs hang from trees, just waiting to snap and fall. In this summer heat, the limbs hanging and piled on the roadside are dried up and dead. It is a strange site to see. There will be a perfectly healthy tree, green as can be, with a dead, dried up branch just hanging from it.
The minute those trees are disconnected from their source, they cannot sustain life on their own. Even the ones hanging on by a thread aren’t getting the nourishment and sustenance they need to live. They just hang there withering and dried up.
Nature analogies are my favorite. And are one of the clearest ways God tends to speak to me and teach me life-lessons. Aren’t we just like these branches? Has a storm of life knocked you down? Has it ripped you from your roots and left you disconnected from your truest life source?
I can’t help but look at those dried up, disconnected branches and feel their pain. They are me. Life and its challenges leave us bitter, dry, withering and disconnected from God for a whole myriad of reasons. Can you relate? Maybe you’re like the branches and limbs piled up on the road side… You feel completely shipwrecked, completely separate from God. Maybe you’re like those limbs hanging on for dear life—begging not to fall, not to be broken.
The good news for us today is this:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 8:35–39
The storms of life may leave you feeling disconnected, separated from Jesus, but the truth is—nothing could pluck you from his hand. You are his. And you are not alone in your storm. You are not alone in your wreckage. You are not alone in your wilderness. The simple truth is you simply need to whisper his name and turn your heart toward him. Speak to the Holy Spirit just like any friend, and experience connection with him once again. He has not turned away from you in your suffering, pain and heartache. It’s simply just time to draw near afresh.
This may take time; be gentle with yourself. Our city is still very much in repair after the storm. And that’s okay. It is natural, and human. Submit yourself to the process. Let Jesus in, and let him heal… Connect yourself to the source of life—not even so you’ll bear fruit, but so you’ll experience life, be nourished, grow, and heal. Jesus is in this for you. And your soul, your storm, your journey matters to him.