Let's face it, in today's world most of us can relate to feeling a storm of stress, anxiety, and chronic busy-ness that often feels inevitable and seems to prevent us from living in the place where God can reach us.
That place that God gives each of us in which to live is the present moment. This is where God is. Yet, we often live in the past or the future where He is not.
In the book Still Amidst The Storm, author Conor Gallagher reflects on how our habits of worry and stress have become ingrained in the way we live our everyday lives. Gallagher presents his readers with the antidote: living in the present moment.
In a casual and approachable manner, Gallagher weaves personal stories and situations from his own life as a father of 13 children. Although Still Amidst The Storm is an easy read, Gallagher is not afraid to tackle important concepts such as surrendering to the Will of God, spiritual warfare, and the reality of sin.
In one chapter, titled "Anxiety Enters Eden," Gallagher explains that it was in the Garden of Eden—where Adam and Eve lived contentedly—that Satan introduced a foreign concept to our first parents: the future. The emotion it brought with it was anxiety.
The serpent placed the notion of the future in Eve's mind. This knowledge immediately created anxiety in her heart. She felt, for the first time, deprived of something. She felt the future could be better than the present if she broke God's commandment.
This knowledge caused Eve to doubt God and to question His Will. Why should we not be allowed to eat of the fruit? What are you hiding from us, Lord?
Many of us can recognize that fear lurks behind our own doubts, and manifests itself in frustration with the way things are in the present moment: Why are things so hard? Why so much suffering? Where are you, Lord?
Recalling the events the garden of Eden reminds us that the devil loves confusion, anxiety, and disorder. But God doesn't want us to be anxious. "...do not worry about tomorrow," Jesus says in Matthew 6:34.
By showing us that the devil is often a culprit in enticing us with the worry and fear of the past or the future, Gallagher offers the truth that God gives us the present moment, therefore it is holy. There is sanctification in living in the present moment because that is where God is.
"The Holy Trinity lives in eternity. And our present moment—not our past and not our future—is the closest we can get to eternity. God is a present to us in the present moment as Jesus was to His apostles in the sinking boat. He can calm our storm any time He wishes. It wouldn't be hard for Him to do. And yet, sometimes He doesn't. Faith teaches us that there is a reason."
—Introduction to Still Amidst The Storm
If you struggle with living in the present, or are just seeking understanding and simplicity in your everyday life, I recommend Conor Gallagher's book, Still Amidst The Storm. It can be read in a weekend, during that vacation, or in the summer when you have a bit more time.
In a world that constantly bombards us with noise and stress, this little book offers a wealth of insight and advice on how to "rest in the Lord and hear his voice, so that we may be "Still Amidst The Storm."
Do you know someone in your life who would benefit from reading this book? It makes a great gift for someone struggling through a time of trial!