A Look Back through the Storm

Willow Creek | April 5, 2022

Can Jesus turn our storms into stories? During the frenetic weather of a storm, it’s hard to imagine that He can, but time can give us perspective—clearer eyes to see all the places He showed up in the thick of it. One Willow congregant shares her story of how God moved through the storm:

More than a decade ago, my marriage was in a dark place. My husband and I had reached a critical point in our relationship. We didn’t feel like there was any way out other than to separate. While I felt a release in that decision, it came at the cost of sharing some hard news and truths with our kids. There was no greater heartache than sharing the news with them—you would never wish that pain, heartbreak, and sadness on anyone’s family. 

Separation turned to thoughts of divorce. There were days when I felt that was the only option, but then I continued to see glimmers of hope and restoration. No different than a storm, there were chaotic, wind-shifting minutes, days, weeks, months, and years—more lows than highs and all sorts of confusion, grief, and anger. 

And too, even in that storm, there were hints of God with us. Friends that appeared, almost out of the blue, in places where sitting alone felt paralyzing. Teachers and parent friends spoke into our kids and reminded them of our family’s truths. Family, who surrounded and covered us in encouragement, prayer, and support. Counselors who spoke into each of us, challenged us, and caused us to sit in all the emotions. And through His Word, passages and stories gave me greater understanding, hope, love, glimpses into the future. 

With time and a lot of hard work and healing, our marriage was restored. Easy? Not one bit. Joy? Not always. But love? Yes, love as a noun and then as a verb—love in action.

And then, just a few years later, another storm came. Out of the blue, I was diagnosed with cancer. We quickly dove into research on doctors, hospitals, treatment options, and plans. I was one of the lucky ones who made it through a long surgery and six months of treatment. Was it easy? Certainly not, but God’s hand was in all of it again. My husband became my advocate and best friend in new ways through that journey. He offered love, care, and protection 1,000 times over. Our kids were surrounded and supported by their friends, teachers, and other families. Our community rallied around us with support—prayer, food, transportation, and crazy amounts of love. God showed up through that storm, writing story after story of His faithfulness. 

I can look back now through those years and still remember how dark and ominous those storms felt. And I can also look back and understand that God was with me all along, working all things for good. I sit in a marriage that is not perfect—not one bit—but is a strong partnership that has weathered unbelievable ups and downs. And yet, some of my darkest moments spurred on so much growth in my soul and being. Today I’m able to share these truths and stories not as a look at “how-to” but as an affirmation of God’s goodness in my life and His ever presence.

Nowhere in God’s Word does it say that following Jesus will be easy. A life of faith isn’t a life without trouble, but it is a life with the assurance of God’s presence and promise that He will work all things for good. 

What storms has God led you through? Where have you seen His faithfulness? Take time to reflect on the storms that have become stories in your life.