It is inevitable for a Christian, at some point, to either be led by God into a storm or to have a storm cross their path. I have been and still am going through what feels like the most difficult time of my life. Definite storms. Earlier this year, I felt God instill promises into my heart for my future. Everything was pointing to an incredible, exciting journey towards what looked like the greatest adventure of my life. My desires for my future in God and where I believed He wanted me in this next season of my life were just in sight. What I believed God was saying to me included where He wanted me geographically, His plans for how He wanted me serving in His Kingdom, the focus of my career, as well as some deep, personal promises. I was ecstatic to hear all God was saying to me.
This storm was not expected at all.
But then just when it seemed it was all heading exactly to where I believed God was leading, a storm arose. Within days, everything somehow flipped upside-down. Every plan, every idea and every opportunity crashed, and those once-sure promises now felt impossible to obtain. The storm hit, and boy did it hit hard. I tried everything in my own strength to keep those promises alive, or somehow resurrect them from being exactly where God wanted them to be (for now), which was ‘dormant’. I prayed and begged God, and reminded Him about His promises. I was losing trust in His timing, fast.
It’s one thing to trust God when the seas are calm, but it’s a completely different battle to trust in God’s timing when the winds and waves rage. I had to learn, like Abraham, to not try and force God’s promises over my life into being, but to wait on Him. This storm was not expected at all. But I now see that God has been in all of it. I still trust the promises God has over me, but I’ve needed to learn to “sleep” as Jesus did and trust God through this storm.
But God also leads us through storms over which we have absolutely no control.
‘And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marvelled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”’ (Matthew 8:23-27 )
When we look at this portion of Scripture, we see that Jesus calmed the storm that the disciples were facing. He then rebuked them, not because they didn’t have faith enough to calm the storm themselves, but because they didn’t trust God through the storm. ‘And He said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”. Faith is the opposite of fear, the enemy of fear.
Sometimes we face trials and hardships that we can speak to and rebuke in faith, and they will calm. But God also leads us through storms over which we have absolutely no control. It could be the loss of a loved one, it could be our health or the health of someone close to us, or our financial situation. Sometimes we face storms that, no matter how much we rebuke them, don’t go away or calm. But that doesn’t mean that it never will or that God is not in control right then, or with us in the storm.
God very clearly uses the storms in our lives to grow and shape us to trust Him.
Most people would admit that they hate feeling ‘out of control’. We humans are big fans of holding on fiercely to the steering wheel of our lives. But God wants to take us to a place where we cannot trust solely in ourselves or our own strength; where we have to let go completely and trust in Him.
God very clearly uses the storms in our lives to grow and shape us to trust Him. We need to see how Jesus reacted in the storm and we need to imitate this. Jesus was not afraid – I believe that He showed us how to truly respond in a storm, we need to learn to “sleep” through the storms, to trust and have faith that God knows what He is doing. Trust God in the process. No matter what God is allowing to happen in our lives right now, you and I still have a choice as to how we respond to all of it. We can choose to keep trusting God and His timing. By God’s enabling grace, I know I will!