After some friends lost their home in a tornado, I helped them clean up what was left. There wasn't much. Where their house had once stood was a refrigerator. That's all. Destruction was everywhere. Debris covered the yard and the nearby woods. All day we sorted through the rubble, hoping to find intact some piece of our friends' lives. We could rescue only a few belongings. We uncovered some important papers, a few small personal items, and a handful of photos - not very much to represent an entire lifetime. I'm sure the family treasures these mementos because they're all that remains from their pre-tornado life.
Like the devastating winds of a tornado, I've felt trouble beat against my life. Hardships blow into every life, threatening to knock down all that we value. In the wreckage, we can usually find some valuable treasures, if our eyes are open to recognize them and our hearts are open to receive them.
As long as we're in this world, we will have tribulation. (John 16:33) But this Bible verse also says, "In me you may have peace." How can we have peace amid tribulation? Peace doesn't result from the removal of unpleasant circumstances. It comes from releasing our own plans and being open to God's plan. Rest comes from fixing our eyes on Him instead of on circumstances. It comes from giving up on living for myself and living for Him instead.
From God's vantage point, there is no true debris. I'm confident that He is in the midst of any storm, and I try to keep my eyes open to see the gift He gives with the rubble. He has promised that, for those who love Him, He'll bring blessings out of storms.