High Plains Thunderstorm

Kevin and Stacy Berg minister to the Lakota Sioux

Dark foreboding clouds gathered swiftly together from the Western horizon as shadowy horseman preparing for battle, ready to unleash their pent-up fury and weapons of war, long-prepared. Thunderous battle cries shook the earth accompanied by violent winds, and searing flashes of light as they anticipated unloading their destructive payload of stinging watery darts and piercing icy arrows, from above. Thunderstorms on the High Plains are always fearsome displays of the power of our Creator best observed from safety indoors. I, however, was on my way to make some visits on the western side of the Reservation, rushing headlong into the raging battle of hot and cold masses of air.

The onslaught was awe-inspiring but short-lived; and, as I was close to my destination and had turned to the north, I was able to look back on the angry but exhausted clouds, seemingly mustering for another charge. There in the midst of the darkness was a rainbow, a symbol of the unassailable promises of God. I stopped alongside the lonely country road to take a few pictures of this welcome sight. When I removed my sunglasses, I realized that the rainbow was faint enough where I might have missed it altogether without those special lenses. Ministry on the Reservation is much like being in the midst of a storm. However, the two enemies doing battle on this forsaken field are not heat and cold but light and darkness, in the spiritual realm. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the endless victories of darkness as life after life is snuffed out too soon, as are the fleeting spiritual victories. If one is not careful, discouragement can become a way of life, all too easily. In order to pierce the darkness and see the rainbows of God’s promises in the heart of the storms, we must look through the lens of the Word of God. Though God’s promises sometimes seem faint and far away, they are ever-present, anchored in the Eternal One, steadfast and sure. Those who dare to minister in the storm must be careful to stay close to the Master of the winds and the sea. For thirteen years, God has preserved us in this dark place, many times reaching down and grabbing us as we began to sink beneath the swollen relentless waves, overwhelmed by the storm. We thank God for his faithfulness!

I knocked on the door, unsure if anyone was home or if they would answer if they were. Toni opened the door and immediately began to cry as she left it open and walked away in a silent invitation. Her brother had gotten into a car with friends the night before, and that was the last time she saw him. He and two others went to a bar and on their return trip the car flipped over and two of the three entered eternity. One was her younger brother who had been staying with her. I witnessed to Toni at length not too long ago but she considers herself to be a follower of her native religion, probably by upbringing more than choice. And now I spoke to her again about the brevity of life and the promises of God and prayed with her. She has already lost three of her younger siblings and she is only thirty. Pray with me that God will open her eyes. I went back to see her but she sent her niece to run interference and I haven’t caught her or her boyfriend Spencer at home since. Last time I saw him he was very thin, and the thought crossed my mind that he might be using meth, like so many around him. Pray for him too.

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