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The gathering of the storm clouds by Kenneth Kvistad

Peace in the midst of trials and difficulties as we face the coronavirus

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The gathering of the storm clouds by Kenneth Kvistad

  1. 1. The Gathering Storm Clouds VICTORY OVER FEAR
  2. 2. Introduction  For some time now I have had an urge to journal my thoughts during these momentous times.  Five months ago my 78th birthday was spent in the hospital testing why I had stroke-like symptoms. In the face of this Corona virus pandemic, and with immune system challenges, the time is possibly drawing nigh. Hence the urgency to share my thoughts with family and friends.  The last two days have brought the shutters down here in sanitized Switzerland with alarming news of the arrival of the virus here.
  3. 3. Home in Switzerland  Switzerland has now the highest per capita infection rate overtaking neighboring Italy. It along with France and Germany have common borders, and all send tens of thousands of daily workers across into Switzerland including many health workers.  The fear here is that these countries will prohibit their health workers from working in Switzerland bringing a crisis to the Swiss health response.  The atmosphere has gone from glib disbelief to a feeling of doomsday overnight with almost 11,000 infections today and 150 deaths with expodential increases daily.
  4. 4. Gathering Storm  I remember Winston Churchill’s book “The Gathering Storm” of WWII in which he describes the impending ‘War to end all Wars.’  It mirrors today’s atmosphere. But where back then it was humankind annihilating humankind, today it seems driven by some unseen universal force to end humankind's self-inflicted misery.  These storm clouds are gathering once again but in darker and gloomier billows reaching heavenly over the Alps as they drive like a towering airborne Tsunami from their Far East origins westward threatening to level all in their path.
  5. 5. Mountaintop to Precipice “I shall fear no evil”  So here goes, my guts spilling forth. Six months ago I was a Pilgrim on a path of life and enlightenment to the promised mountaintop pinnacle of life.  Today I stand at the precipice. This side is still verdant mountaintop pasture with sun and edelweiss, the next step seems to be the great Chasm into darkness and chaos, total annihilation in what the Word calls Armageddon.  But oddly I lack any feeling of fear or terror. Maybe like the Psalmist David: “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.”
  6. 6. Why No Fear?  Why? I am not sure. I would like to say it’s because of my faith. Life eternal over death…but to be honest I don’t know for sure. Maybe it’s because the road upward is getting steeper…and I’m getting slower and more and more out of breath…yearning for the next stage. Who knows?  The Psalmist David says that his fears are assuaged by the Lord, his Shepherd whose rod and staff comfort him. My faith tells me that this great Shepherd of my soul has me in the power and authority of his hand and is leading me to lie down in green pastures, beside the still waters, restoring my soul. I want to believe this and that he is with me despite the gathering storm and that I will dwell in his house forever.
  7. 7. Will faith carry me past fear?  Of course I believe it but when the time comes will I be able to hold on to that belief? Thirty-six years ago I stood at the edge of the precipice looking down into the great abyss and I knew then that this great Shepherd existed and that I, like the wayward Prodigal son, needed to return to my Father, the Shepherd and return for onward guidance and for the peace of his house, his pasture, his table…his way, truth and life.  Since then I have tried to take others by their hands (in the face of daily chaos and death) and share how I and others have found this dwelling place of peace and rest in green pastures and still waters provided by the Great Shepherd of our souls.
  8. 8. Who is this that calms the storm?  And now, why the hesitation in the face of this gathering storm, this plague of evil? In the face of all that I know about the Lord and his perfect Love which drives out all fear.  I know and believe he chases away the storm clouds and makes our plagues Passover us. I see and believe as he passes over the houses with the blood of lambs to let his threatened people go to freedom.  I remember the story of him in the boat in the middle of the Sea with his followers who become terrified as the wind and waves threaten to capsize them: He who speaks gently to the storm clouds as they rain down terror and they are immediately neutralized and made into pink marshmallow puffs. Who is this that commands even the wind and the waves? And they become liked the still waters beside the green pasture.
  9. 9. Who is this that calms the tormented soul and sets us free?  Who is this that continues onto the other side of the sea and brings peace and healing to the raging, demon possessed man whose captors know and obey him and are immediately driven out to free the possessed man?  Yes of course, that's the same Shepherd of our souls, who in the face of these Gathering Clouds, becomes even more real, alive and vital as our life-line in the valley of the shadow of death.
  10. 10. Jesus walks along side  Walking alongside of us, helping our downcast eyes to focus upward to see him as he puts his flesh on the Old Testament prophesies and we see him and God’s plans for us all:  Just like the two on the Road to Emmaus, He lifts their spirits, and their eyes to the Hills from whence their help comes from and they see Him as he breaks bread in fellowship with them.  Yes as I spill forth my darkness He spills forth Light and Love on it and it, like the raging sea is quelled. His rod and staff have comforted me and he is here renewing life in his perfect peace that goes beyond my limited ken.
  11. 11. Jesus walks along side  Tomorrow is another day into the lockdown and yet already the light is streaming in through the shutters. The dark clouds are dispersing, and the light of Christ, Yeshua Hamashea, the Morning Star, is shining forth Ray's of hope, peace and renewed understanding.  His Love casts out all doubt and fear and my soul is restored. How lovely is his dwelling place!  My blown up doubts and fears are vanished and he is here with me, with us, our Rock and Salvation, our redeemer Yeshua, Jesus the Christ.
  12. 12. Come Jesus Christ is calling  Are you still in the midst of the Gathering Storm Clouds, shuttered in darkness and fear? Remember him who quelled the storm clouds and the raging sea.  Remember him who brought the long enslaved, raving man into the light and set him in freedom and peace. Remember him who gave his Shalom, Peace to the terrified disciples shuttered in the upper room.  Jesus Christ walking beside each one of us calling us to follow him beside the still waters, into the green pastures, calling us to his table set for us, and he holds the bread of life in his hands. “Come, take eat, this is my body broken for you.  He offers himself, to quell our doubts and fears, his dwelling place to give us shelter, peace and comfort. Come Jesus Christ is calling, you and me. Will you come too?
  13. 13. The 23rd Psalm The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
  14. 14. The 23rd Psalm 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.