We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing. 2 CORINTHIANS 4:8
Have you been through a period of life when everything looked bleak? When it seemed everything around you was coming unraveled? When you hoped the phone wouldn't ring for fear it would be more bad news? During seasons like that, I'm often reminded of this story: Karl, a Norwegian fisherman, had taken his two teenage sons out for a day of fishing. The morning had been beautiful when they started out, but the afternoon turned nasty—in a hurry—catching them too far at sea to beat the incoming storm to shore.
The wind-whipped ocean began to work into a frenzy, until he and his sons were battling for their lives. As darkness fell on their frantic efforts, even the steady beacon of the seaside lighthouse was suddenly extinguished by a terrific bolt of lightning. Hope seemed lost. But things were actually worse than Karl knew. Lightning had also struck his home and the structure quickly erupted into a fireball. So when Karl and his sons finally staggered ashore, exhausted, he was met by his wife with the bad news.
Strangely, Karl seemed unfazed, much to his wife's frustration. As he stroked her tear-lined face with his tough, leathery hands, he said, "Don't you understand, sweetheart? When the lighthouse went out, the glow on the horizon became my compass. The fire that destroyed our house guided us home." Barbara and I and our family have certainly gone through times when there were "fires" burning. But we've also discovered that during these times, these crises have guided us "home," because they've forced us to hunker down in faith, crying out in absolute dependence upon God. "Lord God, You know what You are doing! We don't know what You are up to, but we trust in You."