We are all too familiar with heart-rending scenes of nature’s devastation that are hard to forget. Victims caught in the path of hurricanes, floods and earthquakes are tossed around like matchsticks.
There is no such thing as a storm-free life!
The writer of Proverbs said, “When the storm has swept by...the righteous stand firm forever.” (Prov. 10:25). It’s “when,” not “if” a storm strikes. That teaches us that we all go through times of heartache and trouble. The question is, are you prepared?
You can be.
God can protect you in times of loss, sickness, divorce, unemployment, loneliness and depression. You may not be able to predict life’s storms or prevent them, but you can prepare for them and be protected in them.
Locate your storm shelter. Mid-storm is no time to be caught in confusion seeking refuge for yourself and your family. You must know in Whom, and where your protection lies. The Bible says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous run into it, and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10).
God’s name speaks of His character, His reliability and His faithfulness. A man or woman without God is forced to be their own god – what a fearful thought. But those who love God can say, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3).
The old Irish preacher had his own take on the hymn. He’d say, “On Christ the solid rock I stand – all other rocks are sham-rocks!”
To prepare for life’s storms you must do two things: Practice self control and depend on God.
Storms are much harder on the undisciplined and self-indulgent. The illusion that life should be an easy, painless, air-cushioned ride, makes you vulnerable to discouragement, disillusionment and defeat in hard times. The truth is, tough times don’t last but tough people do! And tough people practice self-denial and self-control. It’s their spiritual muscle for handling life’s hardships. The Bible says, “The fruit of the Spirit is…self control.” (Galatians 5:22-23).
God’s Spirit will make you tough enough to control your greatest weakness –yourself – the thing that ultimately defeats you in the tough times. Paul lived by this principle. “I discipline my body and keep it under control” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Great athletes know that it’s their conditioning, not the conditions, that determine their victory.
Depend on God, not people. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” (Psalm 118:8). Yes, others can help you at times, like a cast helps a broken leg. But once that leg is ready to bear its weight, you must discard the cast or your leg won’t regain full strength. People can go so far; only God will go all the way with you. Paul writes, “No one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…The Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever” (2 Timothy 4:16-18).
Gil Kinney is pastor of Real Life Assembly on Pleasant Road in Fort Mill.