Have you ever seen one of the severe weather notifications that come across your phone before a major storm rolls into an are that you’re in? Even if you don’t receive push notifications on your phone or tablet, you’ve probably heard severe weather alerts on the radio or on TV. One of the most important parts of safely getting through a storm is knowing when it’s coming and how you can better prepare for it. Unfortunately, we don’t always have that option when we’re faced with the storms that are so prevalent in the spiritual realm.
You rarely get a heads up the a spiritual storm is coming. To make matters worse, these storms that often wreak havoc on our mental and emotional state are unavoidable. The Bible teaches us that it rains on those who are children of God and those who aren’t (Matthew 5:45). That means that storms aren’t reserved for any one group of people. Instead, all of us are going to be in a position where we have to try to navigate our way through a storm.
Whether you find yourself in the middle of a severe spiritual storm or you simply want to be better prepared the next time that life drops one in the middle of your voyage, there are some spiritual principles that you can apply that will help with storm survival.
Finding Joy in the Storm
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James 1:4 (ESV)
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
We’ve already established that being a Christian doesn’t exempt us from the storms of life. Remember, the disciples faced multiple storms that Christ used as a teaching tool to help them develop their faith. Surely, if the men who spent all their time with Christ experienced storms, we should expect to face a few of our own. However, simply knowing that storms are coming still doesn’t prepare us to fully embrace the concept that James discussed in these three verses. He didn’t say that we should expect storms. He went so far as to say that we should find joy in the middle of them!
How is that even possible?! How are you supposed to find joy when it seems like the things that are going on around you are going to drag you under, leaving you with no sense of direction and little to no hope? The only way to truly embrace joy in the middle of your storm is to remember that the end result is greater than the present situation.
James taught us that without the adversity and hardships that we experience in life, we will never be truly complete. Instead of focusing on what you’re losing in the storm that you’re facing, take a moment and truly consider the things that it’s adding to your life. This passage teaches us that the hardships that we face produce endurance, and that endurance allows us to face anything that may come our way in the future. Additionally, James taught that the endurance that we acquire through the storms of life helps us achieve completion.
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The first step to surviving the storm is to remember that those storms produce something powerful that will allow you to be truly complete.
The Power of Prayer
1 John 5:14-15 (TPT)
Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before him, for if we ask anything agreeable to his will, he will hear us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we also know that we have obtained the requests we ask of him.
When we’re facing the severe storms of life, praying can seem like a dangerous concept. “What if God doesn’t respond the way that I want Him to?” “What if God doesn’t deliver me from the storm, and things get worse tomorrow than they are today?” “If I pray and nothing changes, does it mean that God isn’t listening to me, or that I’ve done something horribly wrong?” Instead of praying, it’s not uncommon to let the fears that we face cause us to fall silent during our storms. It’s already not uncommon to feel like you can’t hear God during the storm, but when you decide to stay silent as well, things become even more dangerous as there’s no communication between you and your Savior. At that point, the only thing that you have left to focus on is the storm around you.
John, the disciple who was arguably the closest to Christ of the 12, said that we don’t have to operate in that fear. Instead, he said that because we have confidence in our relationship with Him, we can have boldness when we go before Him. However, the boldness and confidence that we have is based on the fact that we know if we ask for anything that aligns with God’s will, He will hear us and He will give us those requests.
So, does this mean that the storm will just go away if I ask? After all, God doesn’t want His people to struggle through storms, does He? The answer to both questions is no. God doesn’t want His people to languish and struggle through the storms of life. However, that doesn’t mean that a prayer makes the storm go away. It’s important to understand that God’s timing doesn’t work in the same way that our timing does. That means that if we pray for the storm to end, it may not come immediately. However, we can pray for strength, peace, and security in the storm with boldness, and have the confidence that He will listen to our requests.
Looking Beyond the Storm
Isaiah 58:10-11 (ESV)
If you pour yourself out for hte hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Finally, it is important to maintain the right perspective during the storm. When you’re trying to navigate your way through one of life’s storms, it’s easy to allow that storm to become the only thing that matters to you. After all, society teaches us that if we don’t look out for ourselves no one else will. However, Isaiah teaches us that it’s important to look out for others, even when we’re going through difficult times. In fact, doing so could be the key to thriving in the storm and getting out of it.
The people around you need you to love them all the time. However, it could be argued that they need your love the most when they’re going through their own hardships. Your hardships equip you to help others deal with the hardships of others.
Instead of simply focusing on yourself during the storms that you face, make sure that you’re still aware of the suffering of those around you. Perhaps, God has placed you in the position that you’re in so that you can better care for the people around you.
A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I know that I didn’t see this storm coming, but I also know that it didn’t surprise You. Help me to endure this storm. Most of all, help me to remember that this storm is working to perfect me so I can better serve the people around me. In Christ’s name I ask these things, Amen.