3 Ways of Handling the Storms of Life
Trials, opposition and shortcomings are all a part of life – you know this. And yes, this includes the Christian’s life as well. There are three things a believer should do to be adequately strengthened before the storm hits or while in the midst of it.
Looking at three different passages of Scripture we can see: how to prepare for it, how to face it head on, and how to endure it without prematurely ending potential blessings found in the storm.
We first look at preparing for it. Read Jeremiah 31:7.
Imagine the scene. This prophecy is given not long before the utter destruction of the people, the city and the Temple. “For thus saith the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel (Jeremiah 31:7).” Yes, Jeremiah instructs the people to sing – and with gladness! We don’t always know when things are going to take a turn for the worse in our lives; however, we should always be prepared by keeping our praise to God fresh and active. When you see a storm in the distance, try to worship God with gladness. Take great joy your God will be with you no matter how difficult it may be. Let not your praise to the God in the Heavens be hindered by your earthly imposition. God is much bigger than your storm. Each person should daily practice singing with gladness to worship and praise our God, thus whenever a storm beats on your door it will not have more weight and significance than the one to whom you daily sing. John Calvin noted of this verse, “This prophecy becomes especially helpful when the Jews are driven into exile and become so miserably scattered that they have no hope of deliverance.”
Next we look at facing it head on. Read Daniel 3.
Here we see the familiar story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. King Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden statue to which everyone was instructed to bow down and worship at the sound of the music. Three Hebrew boys refused to bow down to the statue and were brought before the king. The king demanded they fall down and worship the statue, however the three men refused. Their response is an example of staring adversity right in the face:
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up (Daniel 3:16-18).”
When we don’t let opposition bully and intimidate us we can stand up boldly to it. We don’t make deals or lessen our standards to avoid what is seeking to devour us. We remember that in this life we live for Christ; in living for Him, even if it costs us our life, we shall still live! Just as Jesus stood toe-to-toe with Satan in the wilderness…He didn’t make a deal, He didn’t compromise, He only gave Satan the Scriptures that were already in His heart. Let’s remember – just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the God you serve is able to deliver you from the fiery situation that comes your way. Remember though, God didn’t stop them from going into the furnace – the beauty of the story is God was with them in the furnace. Face whatever is coming your way with a joyful heart knowing your God will either deliver you from the storm or walk with you through it.
Finally, we examine how to endure it without prematurely ending its potential. Read Acts 16:16-40.
Here you will find Paul and Silas being arrested for proclaiming the way of salvation and casting a spirit of divination out of a woman. They were beaten and thrown into prison. While in prison, bloody and sore, they worshipped and praised God. In the midst of them praising God, teaching other prisoners about the love of God and His way of salvation, a great earthquake hit. All the doors came open and their chains fell off. Thinking they escaped, the jailer drew his sword ready to kill himself rather than pay the penalty for allowing prisoners to escape. As the jailer drew his sword, Paul and Silas let him know they were still there. The jailer went from the edge of death by way of the sword, to eternal abundant life by way of two people not prematurely ending their suffering. Later we see Paul and Silas were released and even given an apology. So, in the midst of life’s biggest difficulties, we continue to sing and praise God. We seek the beautiful opportunities available to us in the midst of the ugliest storms.
So before the setbacks of life come or make a threat, practice praising God with songs and hymns of gladness. Let’s develop this in our hearts ahead of the setback. When it’s inevitable a storm or setback are going to hit, stand your ground and face it head on, remembering your God will either deliver you or walk with you through it. Finally, when you are deep in chaos and difficulties, praise God even more and let it be known you have an amazing God whom you love. Never let anyone reduce your God to the storm and setbacks of life. You know the stories of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, Job, Stephen, and these Hebrew boys mentioned above, because they were in the midst of storms and life’s unpleasantries. Without their storms, we are limited in understanding God’s redemption, salvation, healing, and deliverance. Be encouraged to never try to end your earthquake or its aftershocks prematurely – your story and blessings might be found in the midst of it.
-Pastor Leroy Childress (PC)