August 20, 2020

Surviving the Storms of Life

“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) 

As if the pandemic wasn’t enough, we are entering the peak of hurricane season. 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 choosing to ignore what Jesus said.  On the surface their homes may have even looked similar; but the storms of life reveal the structural differences.  How well are you storm proofing your relationships?  Will they survive the inevitable storms of life? Catastrophic losses caused by these storms are collapsing so many relationships today. Three primary storms are hitting homes today: 

  • The acid rains of our culture are creating a “me” first attitude fostering selfish desires, and 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. When they do, we have a choice to make. We can choose to adjust with the changes and grow, or resist making the adjustments needed, desiring for what we used to have and lose the relationship. 
  • The storm surge of crises is the most dangerous threatening the very survival of our relationships with hurt, disappointments, and brokenness. Will we hold on to the hurt or forgive and let it go? 

When the storms of life hit us, we often wondered what God is doingWhy is He letting this happen in our lives?  You may be going through a storm right now that is devastating and painful. You’re disillusioned and confused with God and those you thought once loved you. Nothing is making any sense and you wish it would just pass like waking up from a bad dream.   

But the truth is that God wants to use the storms in our lives to strengthen, not weaken our relationship to Him and others.  How? Here are three ways He has used storms in my life: 

1. Storms can grow my character.  They humble me and teach me to lean on God.  Storms reveal my helplessness and my 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.”

2. 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.

3. 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)