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by Donna L. Watkins
How do you weather the storms of life? All of us can surely make a long list of them. Sometimes I call them classrooms of life and wonder what I could do different this time to get a passing grade. I know the thought behind this is that if I can figure out how to weather this storm “correctly” I won’t have to have so many troubles in life. Not so!
Chuck Swindoll writes: “Somebody needs to address the other side of Christian life if for no other reason than to uphold reality. We need to be told that difficulty and pressure are par-for-the-course. No amount of Biblical input, deeper life conferences, or super-victory seminars will exempt you from struggle. God promises no bubble of protection.”
That’s obvious when you read about what the Apostle Paul went through. We are also told that we are to “share in Christ’s sufferings.” He died to give us eternal life and to redeem us from our sins so that we don’t have to take the punishment for them. That doesn’t mean that this time on Earth in a fallen world will be blissful. That time is to come – it’s our promise of the future that we now have in Christ.
Look back … it’s those stormy times of life that has produced the character in us that allows others to see a bit of Christ in us. What we do have is a promise that God will take us through those times if we rely on him. That may not seem like much, but there are a lot of suicides each year and many people “losing it” mentally because they have not taken what Christ has offered us.
It’s when the bottom falls out of life that true character is forged and Christ-likeness is produced within us. Our flimsy theology is then tested and exchanged for a true set of convictions that enable us to handle things rather than trying to flee from them. That choice is always available to us.
How can we choose anything but Christ in our storms. What good does it do to too Him aside? Does it make us feel like we have control when we feel as if He doesn’t since things didn’t work out the way we wanted them to? God is God! We cannot understand the infinite things of the world with our finite minds.
Elisabeth Elliot had that choice to make as a missionary with her husband, Jim, in Ecuador. After only a little over two years of marriage and ten months after having her first child, Jim and fellow missionaries were speared and hacked to death by the tribe of Indians they had chosen for their mission field. Jim was 28 years old. They had both been called to Ecuador as missionaries and married there.
Elisabeth says, “God is God. That was the stunning lesson of that most stunning event of my life. Jim’s death required me to deny God or believe Him, to trust Him or to renounce Him. If we believe that God is God, our faith is not a deduction from the facts around us. It is not inferred from the happy way things work. Faith is a gift from God, and we must respond to Hm with a decision: The God of the universe has spoken, we believe what He says, and we will obey. We must make a decision that we will hold in the face of all opposition and apparent contradiction. The powers of hell can never prevail against the soul that takes its stand on God and on His Word. This kind of faith overcomes the world.”
Bottom line? God is God! We do not have to understand. We must trust Him in ALL circumstances, take our pain to Him, He will comfort us. He is not the author of our storms, the devil takes that roll, but He will only allow what is good for us if we love Him and trust Him. (Romans 8:28) Remember the ‘if’ clause. Choose God! He will take you up and over the storms.