Just as I am certain that there will be storms in my life, I am also certain that God will provide for every storm I will ever face. You have heard the expression bad things happen to good people? Well as my husband preached from the pulpit last Sunday, either the glass is half empty or half full…how ever you want to look at it. If you are an optimist, you look at the glass as being 1/2 full. If you are a pessimist, you look at it being 1/2 empty. Which would you rather be? Which are you? If you look at the glass being 1/2 empty there is no room for you to grow spiritually or otherwise. If you are looking at the glass as being 1/2 full then you are telling the Lord FILL IT UP! I try to be a optimist, and am learning more and more how to do that. Diligently studying God’s Word teaches me more and more everyday. However I tend to be more of a pessimist, waiting for good things to come to me instead of trusting in God that they will come. Recently God has revealed to me that every storm is an opportunity to trust in Him. He delivers a heavenly perspective when challenging times arise. He wants us to see the challenge as He sees it..not how we choose to see it within our humanly flesh.
So how can we learn to trust in Him during the storms in our lives? Five simple steps that God has revealed to me have helped in my spiritual walk.
- Living a pure life.
In Titus 1:15 it says ” To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.” (NIV) Some people see good all around them, while others see nothing but evil. (Some see the glass 1/2 full, other see it 1/2 empty) Our souls become filters through which we perceive goodness or evil. The pure, those who have surrendered their life to Jesus, learn to see goodness and purity even during the storms in their lives. But the corrupt (the nonbeliever) find evil in everything because their minds and hearts color even the good they see and hear. Whatever you choose to fill your mind with will affect the way you think and act. Turn your thoughts to God and His word, and you will figure out more and more goodness during the storms of life. Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. The word pure is mentioned in the bible 108 times. The phrase Pure in Heart or Pure Heart is mentioned 11 times. I think God was serious when he said to “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things”.
- Seek God’s understanding
Understanding is only as good as where it comes from. Human understanding is limited. God’s understanding is infinite and unspoiled. Our greatest lessons are learned in the greatest storms. I know you have heard that statement many times — but are those words a living reality in your life.
I read a story recently about a teacher who was asked a question by one of his students who had come across Deuteronomy 6:6, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.” The student asked, “Why does it say to put God’s commandments upon our hearts instead of in our hearts?” The wise teacher responded, “It is not within man’s power to deposit truth directly into his heart. All we can do is place truth on the surface of the heart so that when the heart breaks, it will fall in!” I found his answer very profound for a small child’s mind. As children our hearts get broke more often than not. Every circumstance that results in a broken heart, is designed to produce more truth, greater self-control and fresh understanding of God’s amazing grace and providence. We can face every storm with confidence, knowing that God will redeem it for understanding and truth!
- Learn to be patient
Whew! This is a big one for me. I must confess that I am not the epitome of patience! In fact, I hate to wait — on anyone or anything — which may very well explain the presence of certain storms and trials in my life. Richard says I don’t pray enough for patience. I don’t EVER pray for patience because when I do God’s sends me a storm to give me some. LOL
James 1:2-8 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (NIV)
I tend to consider it pure joy when I can escape trials in my life, but James tells us that trials can and should be faced with patience and an attitude of joy. Not joy for the trials but joy in the trials! Don’t miss this vital truth. I often wonder when I have escaped a trial, what I missed learning from the storm that God intended for me to learn. What joy I missed out on. What fantastic story of faith and courage I missed to be able to tell a lost soul. Trials are a test, a measurement of growth. Patience gives God time to work in our lives. We, as humans, go to great lengths to avoid trials and try to protect ourselves from the storms of life. As a result, we are spiritually immature. God will not build our character without our cooperation. He will not work in us without our permission! We must surrender! We must invite Him to work and then by faith, patiently embrace that work in our lives.
- Practice Kindness to others
When bad things happen, we cry out in desperation for someone to care! More people come to Christ during a crisis than at any other time. When we are caught in the midst of life’s storms and we are hurting, we do so for selfish reasons…we want to feel better, so we gratify the flesh without thinking of how it hurts others. God doesn’t want us to do that; He does not want us to make others feel sorry for ourselves in our time of need…because this hurts God’s heart. I often wonder just how amazed we will be when we get to Heaven and find the unlikely, unknown but devoted servants of God exalted above all others — rewarded for their quiet and often unseen acts of kindness.
Others in need constantly parade before us day after day but we don’t see them! We are too busy to see the storms He sends our way. We view them as intrusions, annoying interruptions in our very important schedule. These uninvited and unscheduled guests may very well be divine appointments sent by God. The warning of Hebrews 13:2 is scary. “Remember to welcome strangers, because some who have done this have welcomed angels without knowing it.” How many angels have we missed because we were too busy!
- Experience and practice love
We not only need God in the midst of the storm, we need each other! Learning to build healthy relationships is crucial to a God filled life. When someone is disappointed, disgruntled, or displeased with us, we have a choice to make — to honor God by waging peace or entertain satan with conflict in relationships. God is committed to unity. If we don’t make “every effort” to fight discord, a storm may come to help us do so. 🙂
What storm is raging in your life today? What step do you need to take in order to experience His strength for that storm? Our Father stands ready to meet you in your darkest hour. He longs to wrap His arms around you until the winds die down and the waves are gone. Right now — surrender. Celebrate the storm that dashed your battered life on the shores of His unending love.