September 2, 2009
The Blessing of Storms
Psalm 46: 1 (NRSV) "God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble."
Friend to Friend
The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He feverishly prayed for God's rescue, but with every day that passed, his hope weakened. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions.
One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. Everything was lost. Stunned with grief and anger, the man cried, "God, how could you do this to me!"
The next morning, he woke to the sound of a ship approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" the weary man asked. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.
Storms are for our good. When a storm hits, I usually look for the nearest exit, hoping to escape the high winds. I am more than willing to give up my seat in a rocking boat in exchange for tranquil waters and blue skies. I don't like pain. I dread uncertain times. When life spirals out of control, I often withdraw from friends and family in an attempt to hide. Stress can paralyze me and make it difficult for me to function normally. Small tasks become huge mountains as the clouds gather and the winds pick up speed. To think that storms are for my good is a stretch to say the least.
I know you have repeatedly heard and even taught the truth that we are strengthened by our storms. Honestly, there have been times when I felt as if I would explode if one more person told me to praise God for my storm. Looking back, however, there is absolutely no doubt that my greatest growth has come during my most fierce life storms. Each storm has become a spiritual marker, a testament to the sufficiency and faithfulness of God. It is from those markers that a powerful life is shaped and molded.
Storms will come. Storms are a reality of life. We will either become storm survivors or storm statistics. The choice really is ours to make. We can stop telling God how big our storm is and start telling the storm just how big our God is. The key to enduring storms is to embrace each one that comes, knowing it contains and can yield a seed of victory.
Father, give me new eyes to see Your hand at work in the midst of my life storms. I surrender my fear and disbelief to the certainty of Your truth. I choose to trust You even if I don't understand You. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I ask that You strengthen me for whatever tomorrow holds and help me to remember that tomorrow is in Your hands.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Read and memorize Psalm 46:1 (NRSV) "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Read and think about the following statement: Endurance is never passive. It is the picture of a soldier staying in the heat of the battle under terrible opposition but still pressing forward to gain the victory! Then record any thoughts and/or fresh insights you gained from this verse in your journal.
Examine the following list. How have the storms in your life promoted growth in each area? Explain.
Read and record the following promises of God and rest in their truth when the next storm hits:
· Proverbs 10:25 (NIV) "When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone but the righteous stand firm forever."
· Isaiah 25:4 (NASB) "For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat…"
· Psalm 57:1 (NRSV) "Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in You my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by."
More From The Girlfriends
While describing the events of the past week, a friend said to me, "You know, Mary. People have to believe you when you describe your life. No one could make this stuff up!" I often say that my life is always like a helicopter landing. Storms have become very familiar companions. I am sure many of you could say the same. The question is not if we will have storms, but when will they come. The best way to get ready for a life storm is to stay ready for a life storm. That means getting in the Word, praying and hanging out with other believers who have weathered a few storms of their own.
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