Rise Above

A mantra can be a powerful reminder of what we truly desire or want to be. One little mantra our family uses has taken on new meaning recently: “rise above”. It’s a simple reminder no matter what or who is causing a problem in our lives, we rise above. We often use it when someone disrespects or bothers us; an easy cue to turn the other cheek and not be disrespectful just because someone else is. But lately it’s also a reminder to purposely seek and feel the presence of God, even in unwanted storms of life.

While traveling to many parts of the country recently, I recalled something a pilot friend once said. Paraphrasing him it’s essentially “every day is sunny above the clouds.” I experienced this firsthand while flying through some heavy storms. The rain, fog, and gray surrounded us. Warnings of a bumpy ride clearly manifested in our takeoff. But when we broke through those thick storm clouds to the beautiful sunshine my pilot friend described, I sensed the powerful presence of God.

On the ground, all we saw was oppressive gray clouds and rain. Anxiety built with each weather warning and thunderclap. Storms of life manifest differently just like they do in the atmosphere. Sometimes they blow in quickly leaving grief and destruction in its wake. Other times, their slow build or long linger create depression and/or anxiety. No matter how they arrive, the result is often the same: it’s tough to see the sun we know is there.

But just as when we fly, we can break through the storms of life to see the Son. Our pilot that day had a plan; a way through the storm to rise above. We should too. The enemy of our lives wants us to only see life’s gray oppressive storms. Jesus wants us to see Him. So, when all we see and sense is a storm, how can we instead see Jesus? Here’s where a little mantra helps lift our faith.

Seeing the sun amid the gray storm takes faith. But mustering faith can be difficult during a storm. Thankfully, the Bible tells us we’re not the first to experience wavering faith. Even when the disciples had Jesus in the boat with them, they needed a reminder to have faith. 

The Psalmist gave a reminder too:

I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth! ~Psalm 121:1-2

Which brings us back to our mantra to rise above. When we see only storm clouds, faith allows us to mentally rise above and sense the sun we know is there. Similarly, when life storms threaten to steal our peace, we rise above to experience the Son who is always present. We often need to wait for physical storm clouds to break and feel the sun’s warmth. But when we rise above, we feel God’s warmth, love, and unending grace, even in the middle of a life storm.

Is there a life storm currently limiting you from seeing the Son? Say it aloud: rise above. Then imagine rising above your situation with Jesus lifting you as an airplane lifts us over an atmospheric storm. Don’t allow life’s storms to blow you off track. This verse reminds us God is our firm foundation:

When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away,
    but the godly have a lasting foundation. ~Proverbs 10:25

Let’s remember: the storms of this life are nothing to the Creator of the universe. He’s with us and gives us all we need to persevere as Timothy reminds us:

 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” ~2 Timothy 1:7

We don’t always know when or why storms come our way. It’s easy to get stuck and only see only the oppressive gray around us. But let’s use that self-discipline Timothy describes to stop and look up. Look past the storm and trust in the One above it.

“This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” ~Psalms 91:2 NLT

Choose to rise above and know God’s presence even as the storm rages. Feel His warmth, love, and grace to move forward, trusting in His guiding presence.

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