September 24, 2015

Storm Proofing Your Relationships

Anyone who listens to My teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. Matthew 7:24-25 (NLT)

Living on the Gulf Coast means storm-proofing your home. It’s not a matter of if a storm will come but when and am I prepared? Storms in life are inevitable. That’s why Jesus concluded His famous Sermon on the Mount with this practical illustration contrasting two lives, one who builds his life on the rock and the other who builds on the sand. Both heard what Jesus said, and both experienced the same storm. The difference between them wasn’t ignorance, but one chose to ignore what Jesus said. On the surface, their homes may have even looked similar; but, the storms of life revealed the structural differences. How well are you storm-proofing your relationships? Catastrophic losses are caused by the storms of life that are collapsing so many relationships today. Three primary storms are hitting homes today:

  • The acid rains of our culture creates a “me first” attitude, fostering selfish desires. When “my” desires aren’t met or “I’m” not happy, then I bail on the relationship.
  • The winds of change blow into every relationship, and we resist adjusting because we desire to have things back the way they once were.
  • The storm surge of crises is the most dangerous of these, threatening the very survival of our relationships with hurt, disappointments, and brokenness.

When the storms of life hit us, we often wonder, What is God doing? Why is He letting this happen in our lives? You may be going through a storm right now that is devastating and painful. You may be disillusioned and confused with God and, even, with those you thought once loved you. Nothing may be making any sense, and you may wish you could simply wake up from this bad dream.

But, the truth is that God wants to use the storms in our lives to strengthen – not weaken – our relationship with Him and others. How?

  1. Storms can grow my character. They humble me and teach me to lean on God. Storms reveal our helplessness and our dependence on God. When David was on the run from King Saul, he was experiencing a storm, like never before, that threatened his very life and destiny. A King, who was once his friend and father-in-law, was seeking to kill him. Hiding in a cave, David wrote Psalm 57:1

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in You my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed. 

  1. Storms can clarify my priorities. If you only had moments to flee your home in a storm, what would you grab first? I doubt it would be the new flat screen TV or sofa. Once you knew everyone was out safely, it most likely would be your family pictures that are irreplaceable as they represent those relationships in your life that are the most important. Everything else can be replaced.
  1. Storms can strengthen my commitments. Our faith is proven in the storms of life. It’s then when we put to practice all that we say we believe and have heard from Jesus.

If you’re going through a storm, take heart. God has not abandoned you. He has a purpose in the pain and will see you through the storm. Meditate on this promise from Isaiah 43:

The one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3 (NLT)