Praise You in this Storm!

I was thinking of a particular worship service we conducted in Brewerton in the late 90’s when Cali was just a little girl.  She sang an offertory (that’s what we called them back then) before I preached that I can still remember to this day.  She must have been five years old, our little princess standing in front of the congregation and singing to the Lord that Vineyard worship song, ‘I Lift My Eyes Up.’

“I lift my eyes up to the mountains, where does my help come from?
     My help comes from You, maker of heaven, Creator of the earth.

Oh, how I need You Lord, You are my only hope, You’re my only prayer.
     So I will wait for You, to come and rescue me, come and give me life.”

The song was taken from Psalm 121 where David expresses his hope and trust in the Lord in a time of trouble and despair.  It would seem that we can learn a lot from this shepherd boy turned king of Israel for a season.

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved (to slip); He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper (protector); the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve (keep) you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.”                                                                                                                             – Psalm 121

I remember Cali singing that song and I remember how much I loved her then and how much more I love her now.  I has been a joy to have been able to live with her and her beautiful family these past few months.  I can see God’s hand in all of this, working in me, working in the Brown family, working in the greater Lee family.  This is the Lord’s doing and although I can’t see everything from where I am at, I know God is using me to be a blessing to my family and His local church here, the pastors, the people, and the ministry as a whole.  He has always done this; He did it in Brewerton that Sunday morning and He is continuing to do it today.

The storm I am in is a storm of uncertainty, it’s a season of transition from one place to another. I am in the middle ground between the shadow of what was and the hope of what is to come.  This sounds like a bad write to a Twilight Zone intro, and yet, here I am, in the middle of my twilight zone. Well, at least I know that God is with me and He is guiding me toward the place He has called me to be.  I have been doing a lot of projects around the house and I am convinced that if the projects weren’t there to do, I would be working on a church somewhere in our neighborhood, helping a local pastor with some of the ‘bullwork’ associated with ministry.

I feel that my Lead Pastor days may be behind me and that I am being called to support other Lead Pastors and their families in some capacity.  We’ll see, although I do believe that I still have some preach in me.

The uncertainty of this storm is difficult, but I do appreciate the challenges associated with helping people, helping pastors, and helping my family as I navigate this season of suffering. 

I was thinking about the song by Casting Crowns, ‘Praise You in This Storm,’ and how God really does show up in the storm.  He’s with us in the good and bad times, but ultimately we will be with Him in the end, forever!  I think that this is what I look for and long for the most.  Houses, jobs, family, and projects are good, but Jesus is Who I desire the most.

Praise You in This Storm

by Casting Crowns

“I was sure by now God, You would have reached down and wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day.
     But once again, I say, “Amen” and it’s still rainin.’  Well, as the thunder rolls I barely hear Your whisper through the rain “I’m with you” and as Your mercy falls I’ll raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away.


And I’ll praise You in this storm and I will lift my hands for You are who You are no matter where I am. And every tear I’ve cried You hold in Your hand You never left my side. And though my heart is torn I will praise You in this storm.

I remember when I stumbled in the wind You heard my cry to You and raised me up again. But my strength is almost gone, how can I carry on if I can’t find You? But as the thunder rolls I barely hear Your whisper through the rain “I’m with you.”  And as You mercy falls I’ll raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away.

Chorus (2x) & Refrain:

I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth (I lift my eyes unto the hills) (Where does my help come from?) I realize that this may not seem like a storm, but for me, it is. I am trying to be the best steward of this life that I can be, and yet my heart is torn.  There is a deep loneliness associated with the gridlock in my marriage and I can’t fix it.  This is as frustrating to me as it is scary because I can’t figure a good outcome. I am not sure if this stems from my childhood and the mess my parents made of their marriage or the despair I feel.

For many years I have painted an emotional picture of where I am at in my feeling of despair.  The mental picture that haunts me repeatedly is as real to me as it is overwhelming at times. I see myself in a dark, cold cave, locked up in a metal cage that is suspended above an abyss of nothingness.  The cage is an 8’ x 8’ box, totally exposed to the elements with metal bars surrounding the perimeter.  I somehow managed to remove a bar and squeeze through to get on top of the cage, which is suspended by a greased chain extending upward to the ceiling of the cave.  Even though I escaped the cage, I am still on top of it, still stuck, still captive to whatever this emotional disposition is.  Nobody can help me. I must have faith in God to get me through this. If I jump from the cage, I will die.  Jumping is quitting, dying, leaving the cage for something worse, death.   I am not sure of all the psychological ramifications this mental picture has for me, but it’s very real and this is the first time I have ever penned it.  I am sure there’s more to it, but for now, I will do my best to steward well the cage, the greased chain, the purpose for being suspended in this, whatever the cage represents for me.  I can tell you this, if I could change my situation, I wouldn’t be in this cage anymore.

I like watching motivational and inspirational movies about people and faith.  They are not all religious, but they are comforting as I gravitate toward things that are good, decent, and loving.  While I don’t enjoy romantic comedies or Hallmark movies, I do enjoy movies that inspire my faith in God though Jesus and my growth in Him.  Movies like,  Facing the Giants, Courageous, The Flywheel, Fireproof, and The Family Man.  It’s like they capture a place in space and time that reminds me that this world is not my home, rather, my home is in heaven and one day we will all be there, with Jesus, in the place that He has prepared for us.  I think this is why I am into Eschatology so much, it speaks to the hope that one day we will be released from this cage of despair and set free to live and love the Lord and all those who have loved His appearing. 

Until that glorious day, I will praise the Lord in whatever storms this life brings.  He will get all the glory for the recovery, the pain, and the direction that I will go in as I go by faith in the Lord and in His leading.  It’s been a rough ride with some wonderful moments of blessing, more often than not, thank the Lord.  I look forward to many more before we go home.  We’re about three-weeks away from moving into our new home; that will be nice.  Thank you Jesus for the house, give me strength to move into it gracefully and take good care of this blessing You have given me. While this is a mental picture of what I deal with, it also centers me in my faith and keeps me looking for the Master and His work and plan for my life. I know that the enemy of my soul would want me to stay in this cage, but somehow I know it’s only an illusion that pertains to an alternative place in my mind and heart that doesn’t exist. They are my demons, we all have them, but God has given us His grace and strength to overcome the otherwise horrific reality of our plight. I thank God through Jesus Christ who has redeemed us by His grace and has put me on a path that will lead to an everlasting home with Him, and all of those who love Him, in heaven.

Even once in a while when I am working on a construction project I tend to hurt my left hand. It’s what right handed men do to their left hand. I often say to myself when I do this, ‘this is going to feel good after it stops hurting.’ While this may seem like a humorous anecdote, it’s more true than not. This is also have I feel about this life, it sure is going to feel good after its over. Come quickly Lord Jesus, I am ready!

Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Central Missouri.  He lives with his wife of 32-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren).  Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate.  He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry.  

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