It's strange to think that the safest place to be in the midst of a roaring storm is in the centre of it. You'd think that the most sensible thing to do would be to distance yourself as far as possible away from it. But powerful storms often move at tremendous speeds, way faster than you or I could move. But instead, pushing into the storm, pushing through it, you reach the eye. An area of total calm. An place where you can watch the crazy swirling madness of the storm moving around you. A place of safety. A place of peace.
I find the beginning of term always feels like a bit of a storm to me. I take one look at my classroom, usually in a semi-abandoned state from the end of last term, and always I can feel the storm brewing. A look at the paperwork that needs to be seen to, and the storm's intensity grows stronger. Throw in the displays that need to be changed and the first day back around the corner and before you know it, the storm reaches critical intensity and you can feel yourself being swept off your feet.
The beginning of term reminds me how easy it is to let yourself get lifted off your feet by what's going on around you. It's so easy to let what needs to be done take your eyes off the goal, isn't it? Our work, a close relationship, preparation or big plans, all can sweep us away into the storm and leave us panicking and without a foundation to hold onto.
But along comes Jesus, who says to me in the midst of the storm, "I am sufficient for you." The storm doesn't lessen, but its hold on me does. I grab hold of the branch of a nearby tree. He takes a step into the storm and says, "I am your shelter and strength." I get both feet on the ground and start to look at him. Finally he steps next to me and says, "I am your shepherd. You lack nothing. Even though you walk through the darkest storm, you don't need to worry. I am with you." In the midst of the wind and rain, I begin to breath more easily. I firmly plant my feet on the ground and cling to him. Then he begins to whisper to me.
The storm rages, but I don't hear it anymore. The more I listen to his words, the less I hear of the storm. My heartbeat slows, and I realise that the ground that I'm standing on is firm. It won't be moved. And I can weather the storm.
So often, this is what goes on in my head when a lot is going on. I tend to get overwhelmed by many things coming together at once, and easily lose sight of Jesus. But stopping and getting my eyes fixed on the cross reminds me that I am his, because he chose me. I am accepted, not by being a teacher, future husband, son or friend, but because of Jesus alone. I am loved 'with an everlasting' love, because he loved me first. And if He put me here in the first place to teach, then he'll make a way to get the job done. He always does.
Bring on the new term!