Are You Going Through a Storm Cloud Experience?

Yesterday, Gail and I began a 30-day sabbatical. We spent the day traveling to a remote retreat, 8,700 feet up in the mountains. We have no real plans other than to pray, read, and dream. The last time I did this was 1994.

A Cumulonimbus Cloud - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/BanksPhotos, Image #10324019

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/BanksPhotos

On the plane, I intended to write a blog post. While this may seem like work for some, for me it is like oil painting—except with words. My heart comes alive as I give expression to my thoughts.

But instead of blogging, I decided to finish reading Ian Cron’s new book, Jesus, My Father, the CIA and Me: A Memoir of Sorts. Honestly, I was blown away. I couldn’t put it down. I connected emotionally and aesthetically with so much of it.

If you enjoyed Don Miller’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, you will love Ian’s book. I was captivated not only by his personal journey (much of which paralleled my own), but by the way he expressed it. Ian is an enormously gifted writer.

Let me share with you a snippet from the opening of chapter 15. This deeply resonated with me:

In 1959, Lieutenant Colonel William Rankin was flying his supersonic jet at forty-eight thousand feet when it suffered a catastrophic engine failure. He was forced to eject from his aircraft over a cumulonimbus—a gigantic storm cloud that gives even seasoned pilots the intestinal cramps.

“You’ve seen one. When fully mature, the cumulonimbus is a cauliflower-shaped cloud with billowy towers and turrets that can reach altitudes of seventy-five thousand feet. On its peak sits its distinct anvil-shaped top. When a group of cumulonimbus clouds get together, they form menacing supercells. You don’t want to attend the party unless you are one of those supernaturally stupid people on the TV show Storm Chasers.

“Colonel Rankin is the only man to fall through the ‘king of clouds’ and live to tell the tale. In the center of the cloud Rankin was met by rising air blasts that shot him heavenward, then hurled toward earth by brutal downdrafts. Large hailstones at the mercy of the same forces pummeled the helpless pilot. Bolts of lightning passed frighteningly close, followed by thunder so fierce than Rankin claims he felt it more in his body than his ears.

“‘This was nature’s bedlam,’ he said, ‘an ugly black cage of screaming, violent, lunatics … beating me with big flat sticks, roaring at me, screeching, trying to crush me or rip me with their hands.’

“That is what 1986 felt like to me.”

I don’t don’t about you, but for me, 2005 was a giant storm cloud experience. Some day I’ll blog about it. Frankly, I am still amazed that I survived. But God is good. I did survive and I am better because of it.

Unfortunately, you don’t usually know the outcome in the midst of a storm. Life seems to hang in the balance. Usually, you are just holding on, praying that you aren’t destroyed in the process. If this describes you, you are not alone. It happens to all of us—usually more than once.

Question: What about you? Are you going through a storm cloud experience? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

     In the late summer 2002, God opened the door for me to become a high school English teacher (I hadn’t had a full-time job for over 25 years). I had to take undergraduate English courses and to earn my masters degree. Added to that, my marriage was going through a really rough time and I was in the change of life. I felt like I was in the middle of a perfect storm. I made it through by clinging to God’s neck and not letting go–I was brutally honest with God and myself, and I cried oceans of tears. God patiently worked with me until I was ready to hear the truth that set me free–my choice rested on the promises that I made when I got married, so was I going to keep my word or not? That was my turning point and as I chose to keep my word, God was able to help me overcome the obstacles and traps that Satan had put in my way.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Terrific testimony, Patricia. I am so glad you hung in there. It matters.

    • http://www.paulawhidden.wordpress.com Paula

      What beautiful honesty you give here.  I love how you describe yourself as clinging to God’s neck.  I cling too and am inspired by your choice. 

  • http://twitter.com/mkilpatrick21 Michael Kilpatrick

     Right now God is really taking me through some tough experiences, pruning me to be more like, and teaching me some really good, but really tough lessons. I’m praying and hoping I don’t waste these good problems God is giving me (as Otto Konning says)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a great perspective. God intends these these for our good (see Romans 8:28).

      • http://twitter.com/WOLCharlie Charlie Lyons

        Yes, God intends these things for our good. We need to realize, that the “good” intended is to make us more like Christ as the passage goes on to say in the next verse. This is always the goal of trials allowed by the Lord. I’ve found, especially in counseling scenarios, we do a disservice when we stop our thoughts at the end of verse 28; we must continue on into 29 which contextualizes the trial. My father-in-law (who’s been a well-spring of wisdom in my life) puts it this way: Each trial of life is a new chapter in the book of your life and God isn’t finished writing your story.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          This is also the message of Joseph’s life in Genesis. Looking at his brothers who had sold him into slavery, he could say, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20). God had a purpose that was bigger than Joseph.

          Thanks for your terrific comment.

  • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

     Funny you mention 2005 because that was the biggest storm cloud experience for me as well. It’s sobering to think about what happened that year but, like you said, I’m better because of it. I came out of that season knowing that everything in this world can be shaken – health, finances, family, friends. But the love of God is unshakeable.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think if someone would have told me what I was signing up for that year, I would have backed away and said, “Uh, no thanks.” I am so glad God doesn’t usually let us know.

      • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

        So true. We Christians talk about wanting to know what God wants us to do with our lives. I think if he told us outright, we wouldn’t believe it or would shy away. 

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

       I think that every Christian goes through a “storm cloud” experience because that is when we learn to rely on God!

      • Joe Lalonde

         I agree Brandon. I think during our peaceful seasons we get complacent and may start to drift from our reliance on God. The storms bring us close and remind us that we can’t do it ourselves.

    • Anonymous

       Yes! The love of God is unshakable!

  • http://www.solobizcoach.com SoloBizCoach

    In 2002, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  After several difficult months including brain surgery, they finally figured out that I had a brain infection.  While this experience was awful at the time, today I am glad I went through it.  This event drew me closer to God and allowed me to see what was truly important in my life.

    • Anonymous

       Closer to Him is the way He wants it to be. Glad you came through the storm cloud. 

  • http://jasonfountain.blogspot.com Jason Fountain

    Another thoughtful post, Michael. Your thoughts on the storm clouds of life made me think about an experience that I had back in March. I was a little frustrated and experiencing some worry about a couple of things in my life.

    That night, a fierce thunderstorm blew threw the area. When I awoke in the morning, I wrote the following note on my phone so I wouldn’t forget it: “I was awakened last night by a fierce thunderstorm. The rains were heavy, the lightning was non-stop, and the thunder was like a giant bass drum from Heaven.”

    “I had drifted back off to sleep when I heard a very loud lightning strike. I woke up, startled, and then had an immediate impression on my heart. I felt God say to me: ‘I did that! That is my power! Do you doubt me?'”

    “If God controls the powerful forces of nature, surely He will take care of all of my circumstances.”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love how God so often uses his creation to speak to his about His work.

  • http://emuelle1.blogspot.com Eric S. Mueller

     I went through a storm between 2009 and 2010. Unfortunately, my family had to ride along with me. We survived by the grace of God. I’m still working out of some of the damage that storm caused, yet things are much better now.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    I too have gone through storm cloud experiences in my life. It led to being “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair” for me. (as said in 2 Corinthians 4:8). As a result of storms in my life, I started to focus on my productivity and concentrate on how to improve my talent and skills to handle the problems I faced. I started to think out of the box to overcome the vicious circle of desperation. In the process, I became more efficient to handle more and more pressure. Spiritually, it helped to focus on God with right perceptive and move more intimately towards Him. My adversities helped in sharpening my character and caliber. The journey was painful but thankfully I survived with His mercy.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      God’s mercy is awesome! 

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Yup! That’s true. His mercy is unmatchable.

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        Amen! His mercy is truly great!

  • http://twitter.com/drbret Bret L Simmons

    My year was 1985. it was both the worst and best year of my life. Both my parents died within 6 months of each other, and the world is a different place when your parents are no longer in it. That year God leveled me, then He raised me up a new creation. I spent much of that year with my mouth hanging open and my eyes wide as saucers in amazement. To this day, I still have never experienced peace the way I did that year. It took a storm for me to really know what peace was.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It is so interesting to me that peace often accompanies great calamity. I have experienced this, too.

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  • Karl Mealor

    What gives me hope is that your storm year was 2005, and just six years later, your life seems to be full of joy, excitement, and peace.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It honestly seems that every year has its own winter. Some are fierce and life-threating; most are challenging but you know spring is coming.

  • Tracy

    I have been in the midst of the storm for almost 18 months now. My job is my refuge in the storm, it is going really well. My storm challenges are outside of work. In 2008 my father passed away and 6 months later I had to really begin to help take care of my mother. Today I will have to call the doctor and ask for a hospice consult for my mother. My heart breaks over this, as I have never married, have no children and no siblings; mom is my best friend. She is losing her hearing, her mobility, and vision along with many other health issues  yet she remains stalwart. Refinement can take palce in the most basic of circumstances, such as being sleep deprived, trying to place a parent’s needs above your own and a plethora of other simple acts of denying self and pressing towards the goal of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ. I pray that I would not lose heart in the midst of this challenge to be a caregiver, driver, her hands and feet and mostly a caring daughter. I thank God for his strength, wisdom, blessing and endurance that has been continually poured upon us through these  many trials.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I pray that you don’t look heart either, Tracy. What you are doing matters. God notices. So do others. I’ll bet it gives strength to them in facing their own trials.

  • Jeffery Weita

    Good post.  It was funny  to me that I blogged on this subject a few weeks ago.  Since you are now “retired” I know you have nothing better to do than read other peoples blog postings. But if you get bored sitting on the rocker on the front porch, you can go to http://awanderingtraveler.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/perspectives/
    to read what I wrote on the subject.
    Thanks for your consistent blogging.  It helps to give me food for the journey.
    Blessings.
    Christ is Risen!

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

       I’m sure Mr. Hyatt has a lot of other things to do besides read blogs all day in a rocking chair! :)

  • http://elisamichelle.wordpress.com/ Elisa Michelle

     Simply put, I’m happy I’m not alone in that.  Right now there’s a storm coming, and I feel lost, but it’s good to know that, ultimately, it’ll be okay.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, ultimately, it will be okay. No storm, no matter how fierce, can pluck us out of the Father’s hand.

    • Joe Lalonde

       Elisa, that is true. You’re not alone and God is always faithful and just. I pray things go well for you.

  • Jaymie Dieterle

    Living through a storm cloud season right now. It is miserable and God is faithful.

  • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

    I feel like I’ve been in a storm for the last several years.   There’s been uncertainty about my job, about the direction of my life, etc.  You’re right, though.  God is good.  He knows what’s best for us.  And He is in control.

  • Tom Johnson-Medland, CSJ, OSL

     Brother, Sabbatical deeply! Excellent post…Elijah x 1000%.  That is the fire we all love hate in the Refiner’s work we do for the FATHER!  tjm

  • Karen Jordan

    I there right now. It feels like I’m falling, out of control. Thankful for God’s promises to hold on to in times like these.

  • Heather

    I’m amazed at how timely these blog posts are for me. Thanks. 

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

     Very Timely post, Michael. I’m in the midst of a very powerful storm right now, and have to make some very important decisions that will affect the rest of my life. My job is going away and I have to decide whether to go backwards and take a previous position or go forward into the unknown. The thought of going backwards goes against everything I write about, yet a clear door forward hasn’t opened yet. I feel like I’m in that cloud.

    • David Manning

      John… perhaps “previous” doesn’t necessarily mean “backwards”.  I just finished reading through the sermon on the mount, where material and positional considerations take a back seat to seeking first the kingdom of God.  Just sayin’… 

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        David, thank you for reminding me to “First seek the kingdom.” Usually when I’ve gone backwards it’s because I seek the comfort of the past. Unfortunately this rarely works out. I’ve also had to learn patience, especially that God’s timing is not my own. Truly life is an adventure, and God is in control.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am going to pray for you John. This is one of those liminal times that Richard Rohr writes about. They can be scary, but really so important.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        Thank you so much, Michael. I just did a word search on liminal and found some very helpful writing on the subject. In doing research for my new book, I’ve interviewed quite a few people who have had extraordinary experiences in life. The one item they all have in common is a liminal time where something substantial changed in their lives. These are like personal memorial days, where a decision was made, or an event happened that changed their future experience. I’ve learned so much from these stories. It’s interesting how God puts us in powerful situations that we can learn from.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

       I think that God has made this post very timely for all of us! I’m in the middle of a storm right now with the worship ministry I lead. Everything hard seems to be happening. In the past week, we have lost our drummer…now a new drummer with little experience is having to step up. It has been a lot on me as a leader, but I know God will carry us through. Just getting everyone to have the same vision is key, but it is hard.

  • Anonymous

    I went through a spell like this about 10 years ago.  It was a time of a great storm in my life.  I was farther away from God than I had ever been.  My family was a mess and divorce was on the horizon if something did not change.  It seemed like time of great despair.  Yet in the events of life’s deep difficulties, God somehow finds a way to meet us, change us and put us on the path to healing and reconciliation.  I did not see it at the time, but when I was able to reflect on it, I could see the hands of God all over me during that time.     
     

  • David Manning

    Great post!  I saved the book on my Amazon wish list.  Now, while writing is like painting for you… do enjoy and embrace your sabbatical! 

  • Anonymous

    This was a very timely post for me to get in my email. I’ve been going through a storm cloud since 2009. It began with me losing my job a month to the day before my son was born. My wife’s position was eliminated at her company and she received essentially a demotion only 2 weeks after I was laid off. My wife was then transferred to a location farther away from our home after she returned from Maternity Leave and has been held up at knife point. I had been a stay-at-home dad while my hundreds of resumes and applications sent out eventually made their way to the trash wherever I sent them. Last week I finally started a new job and then as I was about to go to work this past Monday morning, I checked on my son only to find him unresponsive. It turns out he had some seizures and a small stroke. This brings me to writing this from my son’s bedside at the Vanderbilt Children’s ICU. The doctors still don’t have a cause for what’s going on and every test brings more questions than answers. In this stormcloud, God has faithfully provided every need and we have faith He will continue to do so. I am definitely ready to be out of this storm cloud, though.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I stopped and said a prayer for you and your family, Philip. May God give you the grace to endure the storm and see you through to the other side.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you very much for the prayer!

    • Annie

      God bless you – there are times in our lives that are purely violent storms. . Know there are many people many who you do not know who care and are praying for you and your family.

      • Anonymous

        Thank You Annie! We definitely feel the prayer!

    • Joe Lalonde

       PBGilbert, I’m sorry to hear of all the troubles that you are having. Praying for peace and for God’s grace to flow over you. May the doctor’s have the wisdom to discover what is going on with your son.

  • http://twitter.com/kimthebruce Kim Bruce

    You know the storm cloud I’m falling through right now, Uncle Mike.  Here’s the thing, though…God created the clouds too.  He created the thunder, the rain, the lightning, the hail.  I’m not saying that he’s the cause of the “falling” but he’s still the God of the clouds.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Amen, Kim. Gail and I are continuing to pray for you and Rob. Keep blogging about your experience. I think it will help.

  • Scottfont

    I too loved the helpful thoughts shared, and loved the snippet from the book. That will go on my Amzn Wish List.

    I am pastoring my home church.

    I had brain surgery, followed by a stroke in 2008. Crazy thing is: The docs missed informing me and my local neorologist about the stroke. She found it one year later because of the excruciating burning pain on the entire right side of my body.

    I tried gaining justice in what I felt was a terrible incident negligence. That was not possible. Too tricky with neurological issues.

    I have battled anger, pain, depression and suicidal thoughts screaming at me for the past three years. My Savior, family, church , phsycologist and pastoral brothers have held me up. Now it’s 2011. Putting the pain behind me…..

    Except: After 2 months of ‘new pain’ I have been diagnosed with liver disease. Still trying to figure out exactly what and how bad. I have only been able to work 20-30 hours per week (after averaging 70).

    Next week friend, my wife and I begin a 12 week sabbatical put in place 7 years ago soon after being called here. Our pastors (including associates) will be granted sabbatical in their 7th year!

    I need this desperately. 1 month in a beach cottage on the back side of the big island: Hawaii! Kayaking at Glacier National Park in Montana. Then, a week with our kids their spouses and our grandson at Yosemite!

    Storm cloud battles? I totally identify. Thank you Michael. I have your top ten posts bookmarked…..this one is close!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      My heart breaks reading your comment. You have been through it! I am so glad that you have a sabbatical to look forward to. May God grant you grace and rest in the days ahead.

  • http://twitter.com/levittmike Michael Levitt

     Wow.

    Depending on perspective, I’ve been in a cloud since my cardiac event in May 2009.  After the heart attack, I was “reorganized” from my job.  With the economic conditions where we lived, we chose to relocate to Toronto last May.  I’ve recently left my position due to another “reorganization”, so I’m taking this time to re-focus on the right place  for me to work, while planning to return to school in the fall, to attend seminary.

    It’s been a wild two years, and it’s been challenging to my family, but I wouldn’t change a moment of it, because the struggles have blessed others; in how I conduct myself, and how I praise God for the storms.  

    James 1: 2-3 keeps me in line.

    Blessings and enjoy your well deserved Sabbatical!

    • billbo45

       its been a year since my triple by-pass (unexpected heart attack) still going thru a transition time in my life. I’m just holding on. God knows.

  • http://www.northernskyart.wordpress.com Beth West

    Reading through the comments on this post is  heart-wrenching and encouraging.  So many of you are going through very difficult situations, yet your courage is apparent and inspiring. 

    I’m also in a storm.  Many different factors are involved, but the hardest part for me to handle is that it is my own fault and my own character flaws that are causing the trouble.  I keep thinking about all the places where Scripture teaches that if we sin knowingly we will not have forgiveness and I feel very far away from God.  It is difficult for me to imagine that I’m going to survive this let alone come out the better for it. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It may be your own fault, Beth, but God is a God of mercy and grace. If he discriminated based on sin, we would all be sunk. To get a glimpse of the Father’s heart, re-read the story of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke. The prodigal’s plight was entirely of his own doing. Yet, when he returned home, his father ran to meet him, killed the fatted calf, and then threw a big party. That’s the heart of your heavenly Father toward you. It’s time to come home and receive his tender embrace.

    • Anonymous

      Beth, I believe you are very wrong.  God DOES forgive our sin!  Praise God for that Good News!  None of us are without sin–sometimes unaware, but sometimes brazenly knowing we are sinning and doing it anyway!  God’s mercy, love and forgiveness are far bigger than our sins.  Keep hanging onto that.  Jesus taught forgiving 70 times 7!  That’s just for us humans!  Whatever sin brought you to despair, God’s forgiveness includes a Plan B.  You will survive and you can thrive when you understand that you are still God’s beloved child!  I’m praying for you to experience the peace and joy that God wants you to have. 

      • http://www.northernskyart.wordpress.com Beth West

         Thank you Michael and Genie.  Hoping and praying it will be as you say!

    • LesaKMelchor

      Beth,

      The beautiful thing about grace is that its free, over and over and over again.  I, too, used to beat myself up for mistakes and failures – more than anyone else ever could.  God finally taught me that I must learn to forgive myself otherwise the enemy of my soul would use my faults to beat me up for the rest of my life.  I had to make a decision to accept forgiveness and accept His love.  It’s not easy, I know – but it is imperative.  Most importantly, you can’t get what you don’t give (forgiveness) and you can’t give what you don’t have (love for self which teaches how to love others).  I’m praying for you that you decide to forgive yourself, once and for all. 
      Blessings,

      Lesa

  • http://livingthebalancedlife.com Bernice Wood

    I have been going through a storm cloud experience this past year that was precipitated by a mental meltdown and leaving a well-paying career to sit at home within my 4 walls. God has been working me through so many things ever since, and , it fhas felt alot like hail and thunder and lightning all around. I will say that I am grateful for this trial, it has taught me alot about myself. I am happy to say that I am coming in for a landing now, and just trying to figure out exactly where God would have me land!  
    Bernice

  • http://www.mustardseedyear.com Jason Wert

     Yes, I’m in the midst of a storm cloud experience right now facing unemployment.  As odd as this is going to sound…since I’ve had quite a few of these experiences…I’m a lot more calm in the storm this time around than previous times.  God’s obviously working, growth is obviously coming…I just wish He would put a job somewhere in this mix! :)

    Enjoy your sabbatical!

  • http://tommartinatl.com/ Tom Martin

    What a great discussion for the Intentional Leadership community to weigh in on…and yes I’m in the middle of what both you and Ian describe as that ultimate storm cloud experience.

    Tomorrow Shari and I will be celebrating our two month wedding anniversary filled with joy and gratitude for what we have and yes even the cancer…the supercell which is impacted our lives.

    Strange as it sounds, but we believe it to be true, that my cancer was one of the things God used to help bring us together in the first place. We acknowledge how cancer factored into our decision to marry this past March and not September as we had planned. And we have been told that our journey and the story it tells has a greater impact because of the cancer sub-plot running through it.

    For us it came down to a choice do we trust God? 

    We do and our prayer is we will be better because of it! 

  • Blacktrainstudio

    Mr. Hyatt, once again I’m glad you have more time to write and phasing out of your position as CEO – so you can have more time to write.

    This blog resonated with me.  2010 was my storm cloud: November 2009 on Thanksgiving day, I lost my third child and January 2010 my dad suddenly died of a stroke. I spun into a deep depression and as the year continued, my baby sister called me that she too was suffering from depression as the result of a failing marriage.

    My wife’s third miscarriage broke me. There was a glimpse of hope during Father’s day during our Sunday service performance: a little girl wave to me onstage. It was one of my Sunday school kids. I noticed her parents were not behind me, but to the far left. That very moment, a small voice said, “Your little girl is waving from heaven.” I blinked tears the rest of the morning.

    For everyone’s storm cloud: we will all get through it eventually and we go through it for a reason. As Christians we don’t suffer needlessly. For me personally it was about surrender – my wife and I gave up on having children on our own, and God got a hold of my heart once again because I developed a hunger for heaven. Our trials strengthened our marriage as we clung to one another and God.

    God proved his faithfulness because my wife is now 10 weeks pregnant with our first child. 

    Yes, we all must go through storm clouds, but at the end there is a bright light of God’s glory.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing this story. You have gone through a very big storm cloud. Wow.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    I’m going thru a bit of a “dark night” experience, I think. It’s not bad, but it just feels like I’m in between two seasons in life, looking for direction. I’m actually excited about what’s to come, but just anxious about the process of getting there (wherever “there” might be). I may need to take a retreat, like you’re doing.

  • Erin Woods

    Yes. It’s not the darkest one I’ve known, but it’s lasted the longest. 3 years of storm cloud, of lighting threaten to fry my insides, thunder treatening to shake all the life from me, hail threatening to beat any remaining hope from my body. Even last night I cried for 2 hours as I lay in bed…Psalm 69:1-3 describes it better than I could. “Save me, O God,
    for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
    Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
    I can’t find a foothold.
    I am in deep water,
    and the floods overwhelm me.I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me”As you said, I don’t know what the outcome will be. Somedays, I don’t think I will survive. Somedays, I think that when I reach the other side of this, my faith will be so cut to ribbons that even breathing will take all I have. But other days, I remember that in college I went through depression, and my God saw me through that season. And I am better for it. After college, I could find a job for a year, and then God provided. I prayed for most of my life for a best friend and when I was 25, He answered that prayer…for a time. If I could not fall on God’s sovereignty and his kindness, I would not make it.

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

       Oh, Erin! I grieve for you. I know your pain, I know how it feels to live with an seeming unending storm. God prepares those dark places specifically for us to have one-on-ones with Him. For Jonah, God prepared the fish, the whole 2nd chapter is about Jonah crying out to God. You absolutely will come out of this dark place with your faith stronger than ever before because that is what God wills for you.

  • Bonnie Jean Fulcher

    Yes, I feel as if I have been in the midst of a storm cloud most of my life as a victim of domestic violence and abuse.  I got out of it about 8 years ago, but have been trying to write a book about it a bit at a time over these last 8 years and every time I write I feel like I get hurled back into the center of the storm.  I feel called to write it both to help others and as a sort of cathartic  experience for me….but reliving some of the past events is killing me.  I need to finish the book so I can get on with my life and get out of  this crazy swirling storm cloud !!!!!!!! HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You really should read Ian’s book. I think it will help you.

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

       Bonnie, I experienced the same thing. It took four years to quit grinding my teeth at night, to forgive to the point where I actually cared whether he went to Heaven or Hell. Then it has taken almost 15 years to be able to write about it. I never realized until I began writing that my marriage of 22 years wasn’t the worst storm in my life. As each one buffets me, the going gets easier–I think that is because the wings of eagles are stronger.

    • LesaKMelchor

      Bonnie,

      Just a thought from my own healing journey:  I hurt for a very long time after finally emerging from my multi- decade long abyss of darkness.  Now that its been about 10 years since the day things turned around, I’m finally writing a book.  Although its not the most pleasant experience reliving old events that caused so much hurt, there is no longer any pain associated with it – so far.  I would encourage you to really seek God about emotional healing for those areas that still have significant pain.  Pain is a clear indicator of an open wound.  My prayers are with you as you walk through this courageous journey! God is more than able to heal what hurts. I finally believe that.

      Lesa

  • Chris Shaughness

    I’ve been following God’s plan for me to work as an advocate and voice for animals for the past seven years after quitting a very lucrative job. Since then, I have been in this storm cloud of fear and doubt. It’s been a journey like Rankin’s – I get uplifted by events that confirm I am on the right journey, then issues such as money shortages buffet me mercilessly. I continue to hang on because I know that I’m where I’m supposed to be, and that my feet will once again feel the security of alighting on the ground. If I had not been a believer, I would have quit long ago.

  • susan

    Wow this a very timely post for me. I am a single mom who is moderately to severely hearing impaired. For the past 12 years I have struggled with severe depression as well. However through all of this I have managed to hold down a good job and raise two great children who are now teenagers. I do struggle financially however and this month seemed worse. I have trouble sleeping at night worrying about the burdons I am carrying .  I just have to remembering what i have accomplished in the past 12 years and just keep going each day one day at a time.  

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

       Susan, God hears your heart. He brought me here today to affirm to you that He loves you deeply and He is working on your situation.

  • http://multihatpastor.com Steve Cuss

    Wow Michael. Thanks.  I won’t go into details, but thanks.  Currently in a storm and this post was timely.  

  • Victorya

     2010-2011 is our storm cloud and 2007-2010 was the build up. Holding onto God in the storm and like you, will one day write about it. For now it’s praying, trusting, and persevering through a storm we don’t know the outcome of. Thanks for your post! I will pick up that book

  • http://www.facebook.com/victoryarogers Victorya Rogers

     I’m ordering this book!

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    Awesome analogy! And I am reading Donald Miller’s book right now! Almost done…and I love it!

  • http://www.jdeddins.com JD Eddins

     Am I ever.  I love where I work, just not what I do at work.  My supervisors know this and we have been discussing options that will allow me to find another position in the company, however there are many things in my current position that must be taken care before we can make that transition. There is also some uncertainty about what my new position will be.  In the grand scheme of things I am quite lucky, I have a job with a great company that is obviously working towards getting employees into a position where we can succeed.  However, there are times that we want things to move faster than they are, that’s my storm right now.

  • http://twitter.com/davebaldwin Dave Baldwin

     Not going through a cloud experience presently, but did in 2004. Totally understand what you are referring to.
    Love the post.
    Blessings,
    Dave

  • Anonymous

    The first 5 years of raising babies was my storm cloud.  Now, we feel like we are in a sweet spot, but I wonder if raising teens will be the next storm cloud.  

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

       Get ready for the sword stabs. The babies are just pin pricks, teens can have devastating effect, but you’ll experience more blessing than sword stabs–it’s how God keeps you going.

  • Scott

    I don’t know that I would call it a storm just yet, but there are some thunderheads around making a lot of noise. Over time I’ve discovered that, at least sometimes, if I’ll sit still for a moment, the  “storm” turns into more of a shower that passes…

  • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

    I endured the same violent lunatics as Col. Rankin in 2001, and again in 2009. The fact I survived is such a surprise to me. God never promised “no storms”. I’m sincerely grateful that I did suffer and survive the storm because I have much stronger spiritual muscles now. It took a very long time for me to heal, however, which is why it has taken me so long to write about the experiences in full. It is what spawned my WIP called “When Christians Hurt Christians”.

  • http://twitter.com/musbkc musbkc

     Thanks Michael for always sharing your thoughts in eloquent ways, but also getting to the heart of the matter.
    My wife and I are going through a huge change.  After 12 years at the same church (6 of those on staff).  We are leaving to pursue the vision that God has placed on our hearts.  To influence and impact the creative worship culture in Charlotte, NC. To release the God given vision in each worshipper . . . visual artist, writer, musician, worship leader, filmmaker, etc . . .  I want each person to reach their full potential in Christ.
    I’m on the path of seeing what that looks like for me so I can lead out also.  So although it may not be a storm, we do feel as if we are falling through some old obstacles of doubt, fear and pain.  But we know that God has called us to this.  
    We may not be falling through the clouds right now, but I’m sure as you said in  your closing statement that it happens to all of us, usually more than once.  This blog post is going in Evernote under “In Case of Emergency” . . .

    Blessings, enjoy your time away . . .
    KC Clark
    http://musbkc.com

  • Aaron Harris

    I have been through storm cloud experiences.  This year I am directly in the middle of one.  Frighteningly painful and exhilerating all at once.  But I have never felt so close to God either. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamieclarkechavez Jamie Clarke Chavez

     Mike, I didn’t know that about your 2005, but I’m touched to hear it even after the fact. Just shows how caught up we can become in our own drama that we fail to notice others’. Thanks again for bringing interesting stuff to my attention and for being vulnerable in the process.

  • Anonymous

    Been there, am there, still doing that. Thanks for a great blog. I seems like one should hit the ground eventually. There is a bottom to this, right? But we seem to be still standing, so that isn’t too bad.

  • http://twitter.com/SaintMattress Chris Parks

    No one faces life without sever storms that rattle the soul.   The storms rattle the soul with force exposing the empty hollow corners void of character.  It is in the storm we search for, find and develop the corners of our character that would be, under any other circumstance, left alone. 

    The challenge:  embracing the storm as a means to an end of change — of significance.  

  • John Cruz

    Your words “…you are just holding on, praying that you aren’t destroyed in the process” grabbed hold of me. This is what I’ve been feeling, tossed about by forces I can’t control. Coming close to landing something, just to have my hopes dashed. But in the midst of my situation, I trust and hope in the Lord, that he will get me through this period of unemployment and once again use me in a new place where I can make a contribution and help make a difference. 

  • Fogboundf

    It seems we all go through storm cloud experiences, sometimes more than once in life. Mine, at least my biggest one so far was back in 2001 and it has taken me years to process it in my life. Yet as I look back now I see the hand of God in my life, part of the refining process St. Peter speaks of in his epistle.  God never promised life would be easy, but Christ brings value into all our experiences. Thanks for sharing what you did. The book looks good. Be blessed in your sabbatical. 

  • Becky

    Yes. There’s too much to tell so I won’t try to explain, but I can identify with the free-fall, the pummeling, the reverberating shock, the fear, the blasts up and the blasts down. It has been a few years and I’m still not sure how I’m going to land, but I’m not dead yet….

  • Robby Newton

    Three weeks ago my wife had brain surgery to remove an unexpected tumor (turned out to be benign).  The next week, our home was damaged beyond repair by the tornadoes that hit North Alabama.  Thankfully, we were unhurt and able to recover most of our belongings.  

    Personally, I don’t understand the hand of God on a calm day, let alone on the days filled with storm clouds.  But for those of us walking with him through life’s journey, trials don’t have to make “sense”, even though that’s usually our desire.  I’m free to trust Him to be with me in the storm(s)…what a perfect blessing!
     

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wow. I can’t imagine. I am praying for you right now.

  • Carolyndyck

    My ‘storm cloud’ is my dying partner (of bladder cancer that migrated into his lungs & bones) – the outcome of his dying may be that I lose my job…my finances (paying off the support my son needed when he came back from overseas before he found work)….my full time job which is absolutely necessary to support myself…demands on me that are wearing me down to a frazzle.  Everyone says ‘look after yourself’ – the only ‘looking after myself’ that I get is my time from 6 am to 7:45 a.m. spent in the Word & with the Father & reading ‘good stuff’ like this.  There are days when I feel like I’m living in a madhouse.  But my comfort is that all this ‘weather’ has passed through the Fathers’ hands before it hit me & by George, if HE thinks I am able, with his help, to handle it, then I guess I can! 

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       You weather a twister of misfortune with great grace, fortitude, and courage. Your attitude amazes me. May you find comfort and strength in the arms of Father God.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Absolutely. God intends it for your good (see Romans 8:28).

  • http://evelynparham.com/ Evelyn

    Hi Michael,

    The quotes from the book had me wanting to read more.  This book sounds like a great read. 

    I have had my shares of storm clouds, but I was hit with one in 2006.  I thought I would never make it out with my spirit and soul in tact.  But I thank God that some 5 years later, I see that what happened in 2006 happened to make me stronger and wiser because of it.  As a result I can adjust to any situation.

    Excellent analogy.  When we think things are over, God takes His loving hands to carry us through the storm cloud.

    Take care,

    Evelyn

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The book really is gripping. That passage is typical.

  • Bryan

    Caring for a child with an incurable disease that can cause her condition to fluctuate almost literally hour-to-hour and that requires round-the-clock monitoring is a day-in, day-out storm cloud experience.  After another night of waking up to monitor, this was a good read.  Thanks to you, and Charlie, for focusing me back on the point of it all.  Enjoy your sabbatical!

  • Joe Lalonde

    That is quite the experience Colonel Rankin had.

    I think I may be going through a mini-storm cloud experience. I feel kind of lost right now in regards to life even though things are “good” and it feels like I’m being tossed around. 

  • Anonymous

     Definitely get the analogy. Storms are an accepted part of weather and life. Like the line, “you don’t know the outcome in the midst of the storm.” Again, weather storms are the same. And this leads to fear and anxiety and potentially sleepless nights. Like life.
    Thanks for the post and the reminder that we can survive.

  • Heidi Bylsma

    You pegged it. My grasp is being peeled from everything that I thought I knew–even God-honoring, beautiful things. Instead of grasping tighter for that which I am “certain” is from Him and for Him, I sense He wants me to dare to open my hands and raise them heavenward. In submission, in surrender. And, ultimately perhaps, to receive what it is He really intends. As soon as I am not flattened to the floor, I will do that very thing…

    • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

      I relate to this. Feel like this myself sometimes.

  • Juli

     I have been reading your blogs for a while now and have deeply appreciated your wisdom and insight.  This one hit me a bit harder than previous entries.  My storm has been-like others here- consuming, difficult, painful and left relational carnage and unfinished tasks along the way.  It has also created incredible growth, transformation and depth to who I am.  I have learned how to trust and lean on people who can be strong enough for my need and do not judge me for my weakness.  I have been comforted and encouraged by reading through the pain and struggles of others.  We all share so much of the same “pain” and God keeps showing up in the midst of it.  He is always there.  When I don’t feel Him in my darkness- I can count on the testimonies of my fellow “soldiers” to keep me focused and trusting.  Thanks for giving “us” an opportunity to share, be encouraged and to help carry each others burdens.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Juli. It is all I can do to read through these comments. They are so gut-wrenching—but powerful. I am in awe of the storms people go through.

  • http://building-his-body.blogspot.com/ Anne Lang Bundy

    While enduring a “storm cloud” battering during the last two years, the Rock to uphold me has been the Lord and His Word. Had I failed to cling to Him, the losses might have proven lethal.

    It often seems the storm has finally broken—that one need no longer cling so firmly, that one may now draw a full breath. But until one has completely cleared the clouds of this world, it is best to cling tightly and rely on reSPIRIaTion of the Lord.

  • http://kylajoyful.com/ Kyla

    This post is amazing timing. Thanks for writing it.

  • DF

    Several weeks ago a friend of mine suggested your site as one of the  best – something I should take a look at.  Love reading your relevant posts every morning.  Today, your storm cloud entry feels very real to me.  I’ve been struggling with businesses, finances and marriages as of late.  I feel as though I’m in the middle of the storm cloud and today will begin taking action on many of those things, to begin the recovery process – christian counseling, saying no to certain opportunities and having a much needed conversation with my family.  Thanks for your insights.

    DF 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for commenting. More importantly, thanks for taking initiative in your own life.

  • Anonymous

     Sounds like a great book. I have been through several storm clouds in my young life, and I’m coming out on the other side of one right now. I should be on the top of my game right now, instead some health issues decided to take over. I’ve gone through anger, self-pity, sadness, and asking God “why?”. He just keeps saying, “Someday you will understand.” However, this storm has had me clinging to the legs of Jesus with all my might. That’s just the way he wants it – desperate for Him. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/edpokc Edward Pope

     My wife passed away last year after a very quick fight against a cancer of unknown primary. In May she ran a half-marathon and in November she was in a wheelchair. Horrific. I still feel like I am going though the storm. She was the steadfast one and now she’s gone. It is an incredible experience that we have gone through and God was with us through every minute. He is with me and my kids now as we work through this very rough time. Thanks Michael for putting this thought out. 

  • Jimmy Hammett

     My wife and I are in the midst of another Storm Cloud Experience. I have had 2 kidney transplants, one at 24 and one at 46, which have been past experiences (and yes, we grew closer to God and to each other). Now we find ourselves at ages 55 and 62 in a whopper. Starting last October, my wife found out that the bank that she was an officer in was being shut down by the FDIC. A few weeks later I was diagnosed with cancer that was in my face and neck. She was hired by the bank that bought her bank and our insurance continued (a blessing). I had surgery in January and went through 35 radiation treatments that made me very sick and I lost over 30 lbs. During all this I was staying in a cancer lodge during the week and going home on weekends to preach in our 8 year old church that built a building just as the economy went sour and struggling. I have now regained my strength and then out of the blue, last week, my wife lost her job along with our medical insurance. What in the world is going on? We ddon’t know but we are trusting God that it is an opportunity, so we are now looking for an open door to move on in our life and refusing to give up.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       Your “what is going on” reminds me of my wife and my experience two years ago. My wife edits for three publishing houses and a host of authors. Her freelance work has been very steady and consistent, always something waiting in her inbox to work on. Except for one three-month period in our lives. Nothing at all came during that time. And we depend on that extra income a great deal.

      The drought lasted for the three months we had to focus our emotional energy in helping a son who went through a terrible ordeal and grabbed our hearts and minds then took them along for the rough ride. Ellen sent her last edit in on a Tuesday evening. The very next night we had the kind of phone call parents dread.

      Things resolved and, within a week of the resolution, edit jobs arrived in her email inbox again.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wow. What a storm. Thanks for your perseverance. This is going to be one great, life-changing story, when you can tell it.

  • ArtsGirl2

    2005…the year of the Perfect Storm in my life….still haven’t recovered…still searching.  I just keep showing up to life and battle the fear every day.  Not sure where this will take me, things are in a holding pattern at the moment but am trusting that the Promise is still valid.

  • http://twitter.com/obihaive Joseph Sanchez

    It’s good to know I’m not alone when going through a storm cloud. Great post Mr. Hyatt. 

  • http://dougterpening.wordpress.com Doug (Terp) Terpening

     Thank you for your honesty.  May your sabbatical refresh your soul.

  • Tricia Williford

     I am in the middle of a storm I never anticipated.  On December 23, my husband of ten years, 35 years old and healthy, died suddenly.  He was ill for only twelve hours, seemingly with Influenza A but ultimately with a strep infection that entered his blood stream and attacked his major organs. I held him as he died, and I am quite suddenly a 31-year-old widow and single mom of two preschoolers.  Five months later, we are reeling from this tragedy, piecing our lives together, and learning where to find God in the storm.  Your words encourage me, and I must read Ian’s book.

    I am blogging our family’s story at http://www.teachingtuckandty.blogspot.com.

    Thank you, Michael.  Your words bless.

    Tricia Williford

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Tricia, I am so sorry. I read your comment out loud to my wife. She immediately said, “Tell her to read Ann Voskamp’s new book, One Thousand Gifts..” She has been reading me excerpts, and it sounds really, really powerful.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

     I’ve called this same type of experience a wilderness, that moment your soul is plopped into a situation or circumstance not of your making and certainly not your destination of choice. The Israelites wandered around in it. Elijah went through it after a great prophetic victory. The Spirit led Jesus into it for forty days. It tends to be a make-you-or-break-you experience, one in which you are empowered for greater service in the Kingdom. From my own experience, it’s no fun to go through but what a blessing comes through it.

  • http://karlakakins.com Karla Akins

    I’ve had a storm cloud for the past year as I pray for and love my prodigal. Life is hard. God is good.

  • Memedina05

     Thanks so much for posting this. I feel like i have been going through a huge storm cloud the past year and a half. Where the sun peaks out for just a moment before its over powered by this massive cloud. But your right, God is good. And at the end of this storm there is a rainbow. We just have to learn to weather the storm and have faith. 

    thanks again 

  • Anonymous

    Great post –
    I am *trying* not to be jealous of a 30 day retreat! Praying for renewal and refreshment for both of you!
     

  • Royaltea123

     I loved a million miles by Miller so I appreciate your recommendation of this book. I will get it on my Kindle!
    Love your blog thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Went through one in 2010. Last July. Lost some people who were very close to me. And it was right in the middle of preparing to take a Bar Examination. Bittersweet because my son was born that same month. But I definitely came out better on the other side. Great post. Enjoy the rest of your sabbatical sir.

  • Kevin Ball

     Last October I left the church I had served for twenty years for another opportunity that, after much prayer and consideration we believed was the right move for us. It was in fact not a good fit for us and we ended our time there in January. Around the same time we had finally situated our two, now adult, disabled children. Lots of changes! Since that time I have not been able to find another job and the weight of that burden has fallen on my wife. I’ve been in ministry for three decades and now find myself unemployed, either too old or over-qualified to be hired. I know God is (and has been) faithful. I know, too, that He remains active in my life and I am being molded. But pain, whether good pain or bad pain, still stings. I’m looking forward to getting through the cloud so I can stand on solid ground again. Thanks for the story and encouragement.

  • http://www.thedailywalk.net Adam

    I just signed up for Cron’s book through Booksneeze. Excited about starting it!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Let us know what you think. I am planning to interview Ian for another post about the book.

  • Angela E. Arndt

     Right now I’m going through a storm cloud of sorts. I was a corporate trainer until I became disabled in 2007. Immediately our income dropped by 60%. About the same time we gave our two rental properties to family members and add to that all my medical costs (13 meds a day), we still haven’t recovered financially after three-and-a-half years.

    Although it feels like we’ve on that stomach-turning ride inside a thundercloud, I know Who’s in control. And He always makes sure that I have the encouragement that I need, especially through my “writing career.” It’s just so easy to look at the pile of bills and lose heart. But I know that He is able to see us through. We just have to ride out the storm. 

  • Michelle Sarabia

    I had to laugh at the “usually more than once” and the word usually.  As me and my family are going through the storm “again” it seems as though our faith is stronger because of the first time.  That to go through it again is as if a “tune-up”, a refinement is going on and that our faith will not only again come out stronger but that the beauty of where He will take us causes us to Thank Him for it.

  • Marsha Young

    The truly dismaying part of your observation is the “usually more than once” comment.  And yes, I lived through what I later came to call my “decade of despair” – when not one, but seven separate and distinct crisis hit my family.  Victims of two major crimes, near-death, catastropic illness, and financial ruin.  It’s better than jacks for openers.

    I did survive, thanks to God’s grace, but I am not, and never will be, the same.  That may be a good thing…it remains to be seen. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I understand that my statement may be discouraging, but I think it is the truth. Too often we think, If I can just get through this current struggle, everything will be clear skies and smooth sailing. I think we set ourselves up for disappointment with these kinds of expectations.

  • http://twitter.com/jonstolpe Jon Stolpe

    I definitely know this feeling.  My latest storm cloud experience started this past summer and peaked in the fall.  Only in the past few weeks have I felt like the storm cloud has truly been lifting.  I’ve had so many questions and doubts along the way, but I’m not sure I would change anything if I somehow had that superpower.  God is good even amidst the storms of life.  I have rediscovered this through this recent storm cloud.  Thanks for sharing and have a great sabbatical!

  • Steve G

    2010- career change turned upside down by new baby born with cleft palate and he choked on his tongue which was life threatening (Pierre-Robin Sequence).  Baby in ICU, wife hemorrhaging from 10 lb baby.  Can’t qualify for anything.  We went from ministering to those whose lives were turned upside down to becoming those whose lives have turned upside down.  For 9 months, we have taken full time care of our son living off of savings.  The upside is that our son’s surgery fixed his palate, his jaw grew out to help him stop choking on his tongue, we’re moving ahead with an orphan non-profit despite finances and looks like our house may finally sell.  We’re learning to live day by day with real trust in God since He is our sustainer and perfect provider.  God uses everything for a purpose.  We haven’t always embraced that becuase it is much harder than security and comfort.  But, we’d rather have Jesus than anyting.  He means that much. 

  • Anonymous

     A year ago, my ministry position was eliminated. 

    We had served on staff with this church plant for eight years, moved away for five, and then received a phone call asking us to move back from out of state for this new role. During the five years away, I begged God for the chance to move back home and be a part of building His kingdom specifically with this church. It lasted a year. And my dream blew up.

    So, now I’m looking for a new dream. I still kind of feel like I am falling through the clouds and haven’t landed yet. It’s heartbreaking, scary, confusing… and I just don’t know what’s next. 

    This is so not what I expected.

  • http://lifeengaged.net Joseph

     I went through a storm during the three years after high school. I just wasn’t sure about where my life was headed and I didn’t lean on God. It was like I was just walking through the dark. It also had a big effect on my health. I was having anxiety problems and even ulcers. Luckily God showed up and open doors for me and has been with me since. Really he’s always been there for me. I just didn’t look to him. Great post!

  • John Hawken

     Wow, I can SO relate to that story – that’s exactly what my wife & I have been going through these last three years. It started off with my wife becoming progressively more ill, & needing an operation. At the time we were building a new house as well! A few months after we moved in, I was made redundant from my job, losing 60% of our household income. I could not get a job in the two fields I was qualified & experienced in – trying for 18 months!! During this time. God began to transition us to a new mindset around kingdom operation & we now have a a business & technical writing consultancy, and are starting up an agrichemical business with some great Christian friends. We’ve learnt how to totally trust God for our provision while trying to to scream too loudly as we fall through the clouds, and He’s been so amazingly faithful!! I know of many others who have had, or are going through very similar experiences, and I’m excited by the potential I see God developing and releasing in us as all of our old mindsets are turned upside down, and we begin to allow Him to take us through paradigm shifts in our thinking and understanding of who we are as His kids, and what the kingdom of God is all about. I believe we (the church) are in the greatest season of shift since Jesus resurrection, and it is the most exciting time we will ever know! 
    If you are falling through the clouds right now, after having your plane suffer a total engine failure, I want to encourage you to trust God with all you have – He’s taking you to a totally new way of life, that will so amaze you, and release a greater measure of your ability to be a blessing to those around you!!

  • http://KatieAx.blogspot.com Katie Axelson

    I graduated college this week.  This means I’ve left my friends, my support system, and my family for the last four years to move 900 miles home with my parents while I anxiously wait to see what God has in store for the next chapter of my life.  He’s already said “not now” to five grad schools and several job opportunities.  As someone who has always known what’s next, this time in between is terrifying!  It’s hard but I must get up every morning, put on my brave face, and realize there is a purpose for this day… He will use me today whether I am aware of it or not.

    Katie

  • Jonas

     Michael, what a coincidence! I’m currently reading The Cloudspotter’s Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney and have just learnt of the same story! Very interesting book, if those beautiful, ever changing ‘fluffy things’ interest you. Thank you for writing.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    My experience is more like being trapped under a giant rock that is gradually crushing me and cutting off my oxygen over the years. No movement, so in a way it feels like the opposite of getting pummeled around in a storm cloud. 

  • Allen Marsh

    I am going through a cloud now. I have had ups and downs with my old job and finally was blessed with a great experience in a new town. In the middle of trying to sell my house, start a new job, move to a new and be a great husband to my wife my father passed away. This is time in my life that will look back on and know that it was only my faith in Christ that got me through. I think reading my journal years from now will be very interesting. Keep up the great work.

  • Thegoodtale

    The testimony of the true value of the blood of the Lamb is now delivered Rev 12:10-11.                                                The woman of Revelation 12 is now here… God is very precise: A woman delivers the true word John1:1, Rev 12:5, Rev 12:13 who restores Acts 3:21 all things to the world before Christ’s return. This woman exposes the lies of Satan who has deceived the whole world Rev 12:9. This woman creates a new thing in the earth by fulfilling God’s promise to Eve Gen 3:15, Jer 31:22, Isa 14:16. She is meek like unto Moses Num 12:3, she was raised up Acts 3:22 from the Laodicean church that becomes labeled as lukewarm because they refused to hear her Rev 3:14-17. She is bold like Elijah Matt 17:11, Luke 1:17, her witness alone turns the hearts of the fathers to the children Mal 4:5-6 to prepare a people for the Lords return before the great and dreadful day of the Lord Matt 17:3, Luke 9:30. Moses and Elijah are together with the word Matt 17:3 they all three are in this one woman. Those who will not hear Acts 3:23 the true word of God now delivered to the world free of charge, as a witness, at the heel of time from the wilderness Rev 12:6 will not be allowed inside the walls of God’s coming kingdom from heaven Rev 21. This true word delivers the truth that not one child of God will be put in a hell fire no matter what their sins. It never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer 7:31, Jer 19:5. God created evil Isa 45:7 to teach his children the knowledge of good and evil Rom 8:7, Gen 3:22 so that at their resurrection they  become a god Matt 22:29-30, Ps 82:6. Prove all things. You cannot rightly judge this unless you read all that has been written by this woman first Pro 18:13.  http://minigoodtale.blogspot.com  check out the bruising of Satan and the reason for all of mankind’s sufferings.
     

  • http://twitter.com/cheetosrapper Dan Greegor

    I am presently in such a storm now. What do you do when you are unsure of when the storm will break? Press on or take cover?

    • http://twitter.com/Stargazyskye1 Edie Cleveland

      I think you usually have to keep going just like that pilot falling through the clouds. You may be able to take shelter in some circumstances and there’s nothing wrong in asking for help from wherever your belief system sends you or fellow travelers. Sooner or later, however, the solution has to be yours. If these challenges are put in our path to teach us, we have to be ready to struggle and learn. That’s a recent lesson for me and I’m still working my way through.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You hang in there. It will eventually pass. As Max Lucado says, “It all works out in the end. If it hasn’t worked out, it is not the end.”

  • Jmhardy97

    When I was 21 I was left with three children to raise, what a storm that was. I never thought I would survive. I did and life has been a blessing that I would not change for all the money in the world. Sometimes when it is the most cloudy, God parts those clouds and lets the sun shine bright. We just have to be patient enough for the rainbow to shine through.

    Jim

  • http://www.michaelhsmith.com Michael H Smith

    I think I am falling through a storm cloud now…looking forward to landing

  • http://www.brianstewart.org Brian Stewart

    Liked your post, but the first few words were like a linguistic time warp: Yesterday . . . I begin. That was a mind bender. Thirty days sounds great. I would love a week! God bless you as you seek Him.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Sorry about that. I totally missed. I have corrected it now. Thanks.

  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    First, I was captivated by that quoted piece from the book. I found myself clinching my fists while reading it… as if I were falling through the sky with him. Intense. Secondly, I find my life in various seasons at any given time. Being married with a family makes it more meaningful in every way. We’ve been in the seasons of victory. Seasons of retreat. Seasons with different kinds of storms. Most recently, like a lot of people, it has been a stormy season financially. But the one true thread that is constant throughout all these seasons is the goodness of God. There’s a peace to know that God’s love for us isn’t shaken, even though our circumstances change. Kinda gives us a glimpse into Heaven. Doesn’t it?

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      That quote from the book was really captivating!

  • Rae

    Several years ago, I went through an intense season that reeked of spiritual warfare as well as deliberate human agenda.  Had it not been for my husband and a few close friends reassuring me what I had experienced was real, I think I might have lost my mind.  As it was, I went through a period of paralyzing fear and great confusion, begging God to sort the truth from lie.   Even though the sorting was a slow and painful process, God proved Himself to be Jehovah-Rapha, “God Who Heals” – and so much more!  Although my situation left me with deep scars, I am forever grateful and thankful God is SO God!  Without Him, I’m not sure I would have survived all the spiritual warfare – not to mention someone else’s agenda – thrown my way.  All glory to HIM! 

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      God IS good, and he holds us close to him, even as he allows us to go
      through trials and spiritual warfare. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • http://twitter.com/Stargazyskye1 Edie Cleveland

    I have been going through a brutal storm for a year, but I think the thunder and lightning has moved on. It is still raining, but I believe, when the edge of the clouds lift above the
    horizon, I may see a rainbow.
    I had a very difficult decade, losing my dad and then my stepmom. I then reunited with my first love after over 40 years. Eventually he decided maybe it wasn’t a good idea, after
    discussing marriage and my preparing to move several thousand miles to be with
    him. Meanwhile, the casino industry in Atlantic City crumbled from new competition
    and the general financial collapse. I wasn’t worried about that until I found
    out I wasn’t going to HI to live “happily ever after” or even just live.
    I am not a particularly religious person, if by that you mean belong to or believe in some set
    structure or organized religious group. I do, however, have an instinctive belief in a cosmic intelligence and web of energy that surrounds and supports all life. That sounds rather “Star Wars” but it’s as close as I can get. So I threw my metaphorical hands up and said, “OK, I am going to write the book I’ve been fiddling with for a few years, find professional help to make it both good and commercial, spend some of the time I haven’t had before to communicate with my friends and try my best to be positive and accept that I may not always be right or know all the answers.” This is a definite departure for me.
    I am still struggling with my emotions every day, but, in addition to my novel, I have started producing some interesting poetry to help my meditations, put an effort into
    establishing a stronger, more realistic relationship with my friend from long ago (which is finally growing well, I think) and I may be moving to HI after all eventually. My friend would like me to help him finish several writing projects with which he has struggled for a long time. He has a very strong faith in God and has told me that he thanks God every night for his “angel.” I think his faith has brought us closer, even though I don’t feel that I see the situation quite as he does. He believes that in my heart I do and eventually my head will
    get out of the way. Maybe he’s right.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Edie, even though you aren’t particularly religious, I would encourage you
      to seek after God. He’s the one that holds everything together; he’s the
      one that surrounds and supports all life in the universe. Even if you don’t
      end up believing in God, seeking to know if there’s a God and, if so, what
      he’s like can be a transforming experience.

  • Linda Kennedy

    Actually, today the skies are clear and it is fairly smooth sailing. But I have been in one of those storms…a number of them. To the point that my body was numb, my brain would not function, and all I could do was chant, “please, Lord…please, Lord…please, Lord. Am I better for it…yes. Do I long for a life that was, for the most part, boring and uneventful. If I’m honest…yes. But then, what would I have to write about…and who would I be prepared to comfort and counsel. And I wouldn’t have heaven to look forward to. I would be content here…and that is far short of what eternity will look like.

  • Melissa – Mel’s World

    What an incredibly detailed and moving story…thanks so much for sharing that.  I’ve been in those types of storms; you know, the ones you have no idea how you are going to make it and it is all you can do to cling on and go through it…but, I just love this part, He carried us through.

    In 2005 when my oldest son woke up one more unresponsive and started seizing for 45 minutes. He was airlifted to the nearest children’s hospital and my husband and I followed along the busy streets of South Florida racing to get there at the same time.

    That morning was the beginning of a 51 day nightmare in some cases, and yet it was also the beginning of a deepening of our faith and our foundation in Christ. Our son is now doing well with a few side issues from the trauma, but through that giant storm cloud came so many blessings for our family and it also prepared us for the many other storm clouds that followed over the years. When they come we just grab the life preserver and hang on!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      God works all things together for good for those who love him, right?

  • http://twitter.com/KimSkidmore Kimberly Skidmore

     Michael

    1998 was my stormiest year. By Dec of 97 Things
    were looking
    so good.
    I had gotten
    remarried and my husband
    and I had told my Dad that we (along
    with my just turned
    three
    year old) would
    be moving
    to NH and moving
    in with him.  I was about
    to have a fresh
    start
    after
    a marriage of verbal
    abuse
    and a long divorce. What I didn’t
    know was just a month
    later
    my dad would
    die alone
    in his home from an enlarged heart. My Dad and I didn’t
    always
    have the best of relationships, but the previous six years
    had been about
    healing.  I was totally
    devastated. My husband
    and I decided
    to go forward
    with our plans.
    It was my Dads wish that I would
    get the house
    we were moving
    to and when my step mother
    passed
    away my step sister
    would
    get the house
    she lived
    in an hour away.(yes they lived
    in separate houses) This added
    to the storm
    cloud
    building and things
    did not go according to plan.
    We ended
    up moving
    into a trailer. Our dog bit our neighbor who was found
    to be in blame
    by the court
    after
    she sued us, but we had already
    put the dog down.
    We then had to put my Dad’s
    cat put to sleep
    because
    she was never
    right
    after
    being
    in the house
    when my Dad died.
    Our own cat got out and hit by a car, and this was only July!  In August
    things
    started
    to turn for the better.
    We learned
    we were expecting a baby.
    Then on Thanksgiving morning we lost the baby.
    I was feeling
    pretty
    defeated at that point.
    God, however, never left me alone.
    It just took me needing
    to turn around
    and see him waiting
    there
    for me to grab hold,
    and now I would
    make it through
    the storm.  I prayed
    a prayer
    and my resolve
    started
    to return.  I begged
    my husband
    for a puppy
    to give to my son for Christmas. I needed
    something alive and adorable so much by then.  God put it on his heart,
    and he conceded to the puppy.
    God blessed
    us with a sweet
    black
    lab mix that will be 13 this Oct on the same day as my son turns
    17. Even though
    it was the hardest
    year of my life to date it is also the year God started
    to make it clear
    to me that he is in control, and he will never
    leave
    me to make it though
    on my own.  We have had some showers since
    then, but I truly believe
    I won’t
    have a storm
    quite
    like that one ever again.
    You see I went into that storm thinking I was alone
    but didn’t
    come out that way. I know now that if another
    storm
    like that comes
    it won’t be quite
    as devastating because I won’t
    go through
    any of it alone. Since then god has blessed us with a wonderful church family,
    a home of our own and five delightful children to fill it. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/ctpotts Chris Potts

     Book sounds great, I’ll have to add it to my “to-read” list.  Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

     We recently transitioned from one church to another, about 2 years ago.  However, we were supposed to have joined a creation ministry.  But, because of the fear of their office manager, we weren’t able to go.  We raised over 80% of our support, and did it exceptionally fast.  

    However, his fear was that the ministry couldn’t afford the extra overhead, even though my salary was almost fully taken care of.  They rescinded the position six weeks before we were to go.  My church had already hired someone to fill my position, so we were looking at no job.

    God came through though.  He provided another ministry for us to slide into. And just in time.

    However, our frustration and bitterness took a long time to eliminate.

    I feel like the past two years have been one ginormous storm, that is just now starting to dissipate.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’m glad the weather is clearing for you.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

         Me too!  Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/plantedinchrist Brandon Weldy

     I have been working at a small, rural church for almost 3 years, part time. I started there while still in college. Last May I finished my courses, so my wife and I moved to the area knowing that I was going to start up full time. That lasted 4 months. We were running out of funds fast and I was then informed through a letter that I would be going back to part-time and I was in desperate need to find another job to help.
    I now work a full time job that I have no interest in doing, and try to do a “part time” youth ministry. It is so frustrating. On top of that my wife and I (who now have an 8 month old son) feel very secluded and alone and are unsure of what God’s plan for us. I go through days praying and trying to keep a joyful attitude, but it is difficult. 

  • Anonymous

    Currently I am not going through a storm. But I believe all people are heading into, in the midst of or coming out of a storm. My best advice I learned from my storm is to have someone intercede for you and help awaken your warrior spirit. At times we want to have a pity party but a prayer warrior helps to encourage and inspire us through life’s storms.

  • Gail Conner

    My husband of 17 years left in 2008 to be with a former friend of mine.  I spent the next year in Christian counseling, trying to put my life and that of my then 15 yr. old daughter back together.  I did not date anyone that first year, knowing that I needed to process and heal.  In Jan. 2010 I met a “great” guy–we had it all, seemingly.  In June, he ended our relationship with little explanation.  I have been alone since.  While I know that God is working in my life and loves me beyond my comprehension, it seems that the storm will never end.  I am a believer with great Christian friends, but most of them really don’t “get” how incredibly lonely I am.  I know God will bring me through this eventually, but to be honest, I just feel abandoned and alone.  From my perspective, it looks as though my ex-husband and my ex-boyfriend have just gone on with their lives and are happy, while I am the one paying the price, hurting and lonely.  It truly feels as though I will be in the storm forever–is this just my “lot” in life?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am so sorry, Gail. I have no words to share that will make it “all better.” I will simply pray. Hang onto what you know is true. My pastor often says, “Believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts.”

      By the way, this is one reason I am so intent on preserving our marriages. The human toll of adultery is incalculable.

  • Sandy

    As well as growing our faith, surviving our storm clouds (and we will all have them if we live long enough!) develops empathy that enable us to help others survive a similar storm.

    Love your blog; I’m glad I stumbled upon it. :)