Weathering Life Storms

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I cannot claim to have weathered storms of life that in my eyes would bear mention in the same sentence as some of our Biblical forefathers like Job. What I can claim is to be at least mildly familiar with what the Word of God has to say about trials, tribulations, and challenges in a nutshell. I believe that when we are in the midst of painstaking challenges in our lives we need to draw close to God, but hopefully not for the first time as if it were some foreign concept. It should be one of our deepest priorities to be in open lines of communication and prayer with God. Don’t wait for the storms to come along in order to aspire for this beautiful relationship with your Heavenly Father through His Son Jesus Christ. The fact of the matter is that even when there is no storm, we still need Him. When I get in my car I ask God to protect me when I can remember because I can quickly look up the statistical realities of the danger that getting in a car represents. When I ride my bike through a mixture of street crossroads, overpasses, bike trails, and general walkways I would like to ask God to cover me in the blood of Jesus Christ and protect my journey. These aren’t two things that I would typically wait more than a week to be seen doing one or the other, and they certainly aren’t life storms, but they do represent two examples of areas where we’d like for God to be there as our protection and fortress. We can approach them with good courage, common sense, and hopefully ample mastery of both driving and biking as well – but ultimately God is behind the steering wheel of our lives and He can decide at any point whether the story ends or continues to flourish. Since He has the authority to give us life, He also has the authority to take our lives away at any time. This isn’t a matter of being motivated out of fear for death. It’s a matter of being in tune with God’s will for you in your life because life is a precious breathe that we need to invest as heavily as possible into the will of God.

When I am in a real life storm, I know about it. Likewise when you are in one of your storms, you will also know what it feels like. For a married gentleman things could gather much tumultuousness rather quickly. One of his children, the youngest, seems to be having trouble catching up with school work. Not only that he doesn’t appear to be obedient towards discipline and needs a significant amount of our attention on a daily basis. This starts to be a thorn into the side of the romance in his marriage. He used to consistently bring his wife flowers and make sure to spend his quality time with his wife after each day at work. Now instead of spending it with her, she’s doing chores around the house and he’s helping his son with school work that he was supposed to be able to handle already.

Times are rough on the work front as well. It used to be that 4 and 5 figure contracts were quick scores and the money generated from them represented significant commissions for him and his retirement plans. Now he finds himself hard-pressed to maintain the old clients or garner any new interest, the renovations that he is marketing simply aren’t a high priority for businesses right now. The economy is in survival mode, and in turn so is he in his field of work. Employees are getting laid off left and right, some even with more seniority than him. Job security is next to non-existent. This man is facing multiple wars, he is facing a war at home and a war at work. Often times a man, even a man of good character and ethics, would be hard pressed to face one war at a time. This man facing two wars, it’s only a matter of time before he is crying out to God if he isn’t already. Furthermore God is refining his heart, person, and reality further than perhaps the gentleman might have expected to happen. God knew that He would see His child through, and the gentleman was able to see this storm through. When the squalls were looking most daunting, instead of throwing in the towel He relied on God and God saw that everything resolved itself. His son while struggling for quite some time, is now getting greater marks than ever and found great after-school programs of interest revolving around Basketball. This freed some of his time to rekindle the romance that his wife and he once shared, and saved their marriage from being a shipwreck.

God knew that it wouldn’t be easy for him, but He also knew that this test would only serve to fortify the castle that he built on solid ground. Now they were more prepared for the future plans that would come when their next child would arrive. God also understood that with tighter finances sacrifices had to be made, but that the work would ultimately come around for the better and that he would not be fired. God wanted to know that the man’s heart was His and not the heart of his job, his son, or even his wife. His wife and him needed to submit to God together, and while she should be loved like Christ loves the Church, who can love with such a love without drawing nearer to God together first? God saw all the angles when the man, wife, and children saw what was only right in front of their face. To the mother and father the storm was real, they were seeing the storm and it was rocking them to their core. The son was oblivious to the storm, he didn’t even know a storm was there. To him it might as well have been the calm before the storm. The storm had left before he even saw it, as God decided to save the little one from more heartache.

The above wasn’t a real scenario in direct terms, but it’s a reality that people live day in and day out. Those who are faithful to God may or may not face more storms, but their storms have a purpose that can be directly correlated with the glory of God. What God allows to happen or not to happen to each and every one of us is a calculated decision. God does not lead anyone into temptation, but he allows his children to be tested by its’ turmoil. He has also given us direct provisions against such issues by virtue of equipping us with His full armor, leading us by His Holy Spirit, and explaining to us directly in His word what we should and shouldn’t delve into. We’ve got a manual for living in our hands inspired by God Himself, yet how many of us fail to give it the attention it deserves? The blueprint of our lives as individuals may not be figured, but we’ve got the coordinates (Bible) and God is our GPS. We have no excuse for playing with fire, but we tend to have our squabbles with pet sins don’t we? I cannot claim to be absent from this myself, as you know very well I have had my struggles with pornography. Even beyond that I am certain that I have fallen short once in a while in other areas. Perhaps a lie that was or wasn’t intended, some cheating that came about in a moment of weakness, or the mistreatment of someone we truly care about deeply that they deserved the exact opposite of. The list continues, but what we need to understand is that we don’t have as much control as we think. Furthermore, the control we have we should give to God for His glory by His grace so that He might be pleased with us.

Sometimes the storm is so great that all we can do in response is to worship God in stillness and fear [reverence, awe]. We’ve been hospitalized or we’ve really reached the very dead end of a deep wound from a relationship or a harsh life lesson that we thought wouldn’t come about from our sinful behavior. Sometimes we invite the storm upon ourselves from our own misconduct, but other times the storm invites itself. Don’t try to figure out why the storm came unless God calls you to do that, pray in stillness that God would reveal to you how you could fix the issue at hand. Don’t lose sight of the big picture, remind yourself that you’re a child of God and that He has never let you down before. Remind yourself of the prior situations that looked grim, possibly even life threatening to you or a loved one, but God showed up and He knew what the best outcome ought to be before it came about. Don’t become angry with God or spurn His correction. Often times it could be a natural inclination, but it’s probably the worst possible one. Work with Him to work out the issues that you have in the physical realm, and pray that He would fight for you in the Spiritual realm of which we don’t understand the depth. Pray that God would continue to guard your heart because His word says it is the wellspring of life. (V*1). Ask Him to equip you with His full armor and lead you by His Holy Spirit. (V*2). Worship Him with no other extra request in mind, but simply because He deserves the singing, the dancing, the stillness, the quiet focus of a heart after God. Draw nearer to Him as He draws nearer to you in your strife. Experience the fullness of God’s presence in a level only children of God have experienced, because the chaos around you is indicative of turmoil and stress, but somehow your outlook is positive and your attitude couldn’t be further away from your circumstances. The peace that transcends understanding is inside of you and you couldn’t have done anything more without God’s grace. (V*3).

When you’re capable of getting back on your feet again, and God gives you the green light to do so, go ahead and do it. Be strong, and be courageous for Him. Don’t be afraid of what consequences might come about. You fear God so you are capable of standing in front of any opposition. God will fight for you and open doors when there doesn’t appear to be a way. (V*4). When you sincerely seek deliverance He will provide you with ways of escape from the perils of addiction and the anguish that goes along with it. If now you would only pay more attention to them and not allow yourself to ignore them again. (V*5). I know for certain I must have made the gigantic mistake of taking some of these ways of escape from sin for granted and instead fallen into captivity.

Jesus Christ died to set the captives free however, and I am one of the captives that was set free. True freedom is to be a slave to Christ and to be free from the real slavery that is sin. It’s not intuitive, but when you’re a slave to Christ you’re free to serve the King of Kings and you can find your niche in life. You will find your calling where you can help people and do great things in His name. It doesn’t mean you’ll never sin again, but it means that when you have a slip you have a Savior that you can ask for forgiveness from the sin. It means that you can repent and renounce your involvement, and move on knowing that you’re going to receive his supernatural help in conquest of the shortcoming. Bad habits are tough for many of us, but those footholds or strongholds can all be broken in the name of Jesus Christ. We need to genuinely seek His name, let’s seek His face and submit every area of our lives to Him.

Don’t just give up what comes intuitively or easy. Give Him the hard stuff too. Give Jesus Christ all of it because He doesn’t want us to serve Him as lukewarm Christians. He wants 100% all-in, dedicated servants. Those of us who are willing to listen when He says jump, and respond with “How high Your Majesty?” I want to be one of those people. A doer of the Word. I don’t want to just say it, write it, or think about it. I want to live it in every way that I can and constantly seek more ways to more efficiently do so. To store up Heavenly Treasures where they count permanently, rather than focusing on the temporal rewards of earthly endeavors. Do you have a nice car? Good, but what good will it do you in Heaven? Do you enjoy the comfort of a nice chair, office, and computer? Excellent, but what good are they if you aren’t using them to work or fulfill the Great Commission? Remember that whatever isn’t an investment in building more resources is an investment in entertainment or productivity. There is a place for entertainment so that we don’t burn out or stress out, so that we can have some relaxation and enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures. Don’t let this go to the extreme where you lose perspective though, and remember that we’re supposed to be servants of God productive for Him and His kingdom.

There’s a time for everything, and I am confident that God will reveal whether or not you are balancing things out in your life correctly if you would only ask Him. Remember you can talk to Him without requiring fancy words and elaborate prayers. Come to Him as you are and share with Him your real concerns. Sometimes the short, sincere prayer of a heart that yearns for His presence is all you need and adding words simply serves to make it superfluous. You don’t need to pray like a televangelist for God to hear you, God would love it if you were to communicate with Him more often and more frequently. Just remember that the Bible even suggests that we limit our words to God, and to be specifically careful to avoid rashness. Be in firm command with your tongue and of your emotions when you speak to the Lord so that you don’t misstep. (V*6). The Word clearly tells us that we should aspire to pray without ceasing, so if you make it a habit to mentally come to God with your prayer requests as your day unravels, I would say you’ve developed one of the fantastic habits. You most certainly don’t have to break that one!

Next time you’re in a storm I hope you remember some of what you’ve read in this article, and more importantly directly from God’s Word. Don’t give up, you’ve got a special purpose and you’re a child of God who has an obligation to serve Him. We are all blessed all the more when you pursue what He desires you to, don’t spend too much time or any if at all possible chasing the dead ends that the world throws at you. Chase God’s will and God’s provisions will chase you so that you will not fail Him. You may fall, you may stumble, but you are righteous and you will be lifted up and brought to justice. (V*7). Occasionally we need to fall to remind us that we’re not self-sufficient. To remind us that we’re employees and not the employer (God).

God bless! Thanks for reading.

Biblical References:

V*1- 23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

Proverbs 4:23 (NKJV).

V*2- 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:10-20 (NKJV).

V*3- 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:5-7 (NKJV).

V*4- 13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

Exodus 14:13-14 (NKJV).

V*5 – 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKVJ).

V*6 – Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 (NKJV).

V*7 – 16 For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.

Proverbs 24:16 (NKJV).

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