This is a guest post by author Nate Stevens
Storms come to every person; no one is immune to tragedy. Terminal illness, tragic accidents, unexpected job loss, personal betrayal, divorce, financial ruin, premature death—all are part of this wonderful thing called life. Some storms, like brief downpours, blow through quickly. Others, like hurricanes, last much longer. Even after storms pass, their lingering effects leave changed landscapes. Devastating losses imprint us with heartbreak and regret. Lives are never the same. Sometimes that is for the best; other times, we long for things to return to normal, even while realizing the life we knew will never return.
As with any firestorm, fierce destruction clears the way for new growth. A raging fire purges the forest of dead leaves and thick underbrush while also promoting an environment favorable to new growth. Each ravaging storm holds the potential for transformation.
The painful and unexpected tangled knots of life’s trauma, heartbreak, and tragedy bind us together in the tapestry of the human experience. To dwell on the reverse side reveals the chaos meant to be unseen; but one glance at the front side reveals the beauty of the Artist.
Eventually, you will encounter your storm. How you survive it, and possibly even thrive after it passes, is a matter of choice. You can stay in the storm’s devastating aftermath, or you can rise from its destruction, determine its cause or purpose, and become better from the experience. I encourage you to develop and exercise enough faith in the one and only sovereign God to approach every crisis in your life as Jesus did—from a place of peace and rest on the boat’s deck while riding out the storm.
As gently and kindly as I may ask, what storm is crashing into your world? Is it punishment you brought on yourself or the result of providential circumstances beyond your control? Could God be preparing you for something you never envisioned? Could your storm be God’s way of allowing His strength to flow through you as proof to others of His sustaining grace, sovereign power, and calming peace?
If you are not a Christian, He is calling you in His loving desire to begin a personal intimate relationship with you. I earnestly hope and pray you will listen and accept His offer.
If you are a Christian, He may be prompting your full attention so He can lovingly whisper His purpose, love, and intimacy of fellowship. He may be calling you to a closer walk of holiness than you ever realized possible. The answers to these possibilities not only help identify your storm and the reason(s) behind it, they also enable your journey through it.
Do we bear the burdens or endure the storms because we are gluttons for punishment or because we enjoy pain? Oh, no. We patiently endure because our God will hear us. Our God will enlighten us. Our God will plead our case and execute justice for us. Our God will shine His light on us. Best of all, we will survive and thrive in our storms because we will see our God’s righteousness! We will stand in His presence one day and see Him as He is! Only then will we fully understand the reasons for all our storms. Until then, we trust His love, His grace, His peace, His sovereign control, and His transforming work in us.
The lessons learned from life’s storms are as varied as the people who experience them and the reasons behind them. Allow me to list just a few. Punishment can lead to repentance. Betrayal can promote forgiveness. Waywardness can stimulate restoration. Pride can bow to humility. Self-sufficiency can yield to reliance on God. Grief can be comforted. Waiting on God can develop patience. Uncertainty can yield to trust. Fear can change to belief. Chaos can turn into peace. Despair can surrender to hope. Purpose can encourage acceptance. Weariness can motivate a deep desire to rest peacefully.
In the stillness of God’s presence, force your mind away from the ferocious wind and fearful waves of your struggle. Await His whispered voice. Wrap yourself in the warm embrace of His love. Reassure yourself of His constant, active, and sovereign presence.
As you experience the swaying deck of your terrifying storm, grab your deck pillow and snuggle up so close to Jesus you hear and feel His heartbeat. There in His intimate closeness, rest in His love and rely on His sovereign control. Trust Him with your storm. Although He may not respond immediately, or even as you expect, He will take you through safely.
So, rest, my fellow sailor, on deck with Jesus.