I’m writing today from the other side of the storm. The howling winds of chaos have passed and the branches of many obstacles have been cleared.
This summer a storm came in, spun around and took a part of my life. Looking back, I see how perfectly God worked it all. But it’s easy to see that in hind sight.
In truth, we face storms all the time. Some are of the thunderstorm variety. They show up as the fender bender, the unexpected illness, and the minor incidents. They’re an inconvenience, but easy to address and get through.
Some storms pack a bigger punch. They’re the costly expenses you suddenly have without the means to pay. They are the ongoing struggles of relationship problems. They are the challenges of working with someone determined to undermine or irritate you. These struggles don’t disappear so quickly. They require weeks and months and sometimes years of persistence and patience and prayer to get through.
And then there are the hurricanes. These are the before and after events in life. They are the deaths (sudden or not), the diagnosis, the sins that blow up like a bomb and change everything.
If you are in the storm right now, or know someone who is in a storm, here are some things I found that carried me through the worst days:
This seems obvious, but it’s a GREAT reminder. Trusting in God to work things out is easy when you don’t need to trust. But trusting Him through the hard times can be a lot harder. I kept saying in my prayers, “God, I trust you. I don’t know how this is going to work out, but I trust you to work everything out.”
2. God’s track record
I went to the Bible to see how God worked in the storms of others. God’s track record is pretty convincing. There’s Sarah in the harem (twice), David and Goliath, David on the run from Saul, the book of Judges, Ruth, Esther, Daniel in the lion’s den, the three men in the fiery furnace, Jonah, and that’s just off the top of my head from the Old Testament. Loads of other accounts in scripture remind us God doesn’t leave us in our trials. He carries us and helps us and delivers us.
3. Christian friends
It takes transparency to tell your friends you are in a desperate situation. I’ve found it to be worth it every time. Christian friends are faithful to encourage, pray and check back to see how God is at work, or to see if you need anything. After I sent an email to my closest friends outlining the particulars of my storm, one friend immediately emailed back and asked me to go to coffee. What a blessing to have a listening ear!
4. Take the high road
Sometimes you haven’t been wronged by another in the midst of the storms. A whole lot of other times you have. I have a mantra I try to live by in those times: Clean hands and a pure heart. This means I’m not going to gossip about, think evil about or do anything to smear the person or persons who have hurt me. Even when I hear “news” of the person who has wronged me, I aim to give it to God. He is the One who sees all and knows all.
5. Hold on to the promises
Not only is this a great song by Sanctus Real, it’s a lifeline on stormy days. If you don’t have God’s promises in a book or in memory, google search them. As you read your Bible highlight them so you can quickly find them. Promises like: “I will never leave you or forsake you,” (Hebrews 13:5) and “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him…” (Romans 8:28) and “I know the plans I have for you” (Jeremiah 29:11) speak over the lies Satan whispers.
One of my favorite quotes says, “Don’t tell God how big the storm is. Tell the storm how big your God is.”
I have again found this to be true. The winds and waves we face today become stories of God’s faithfulness tomorrow.
Hang on, friend. Hang on.