How to weather the storms
in your life
Life's storms hit us all. Nobody is really exempt from suffering setbacks from time to time.
Yes, even Christians endure such setbacks!
And interestingly it is mostly believers who ask the "why" question.
Why me God?
When life's storms cross our way, we tend to ask, "Why now God?"
Or, "Where are You in my time of struggle, God?"
These are questions that most Christians ask when things don't go well for them (like the mother of a 15 year old who is told that her child has a brain tumour). . .
"Why my child?"
"Are You not happy with my life, God?"
Why does God let bad things happen to good people?
"If I serve God, why doesn't He answer my prayers?"
"Why does He allow this terrible thing to happen to me?"
"Doesn't God care about what I'm going through here?"
Many similar questions are asked by Christians every single day all over the world.
And they are not only limited to modern man either. . .
The topic of why God allows human suffering to come over good people has been around from time immemorial.
For instance, we see it in the book of Job, where we read about this good man, Job, who seems to get "targeted" by God.
It seems that Job, a good man, is singled out for especially bad treatment. God lets the most horrible things happen to Job. Sometimes it almost seems like God is playing a game with poor Job.
It is a fascinating book, and much too complex to address in one simple article like this.
Suffice to say that human suffering has led to questions about where God is, probably for as long as there have been humans.
Another example from the Bible
Matt 14: 28 – 32 tells us the interesting events that led Peter, a mere human, to walk on water.
Now, while this piece of text doesn't tell us about the disciples really suffering any of the storms of life that we have been talking about so far, it does give us valuable insights into proper behaviour.
When the storm threatened
The disciples were out at sea, whithout Jesus, when He came to them, walking on the waves.
They had already been terrified by the storm that was threatening to kill them all, and now, to top it all, it seemed that there was a ghost coming to them on the waves.
Where was Jesus?
Why did He leave them alone in this terrible storm?
Did He not care that they were going to die here tonight?
This short piece can teach us some valuable lessons on how to react when we are having to weather the storms in our own lives.
Look for Jesus in the storm
Verse 28: "Then Peter spoke up. 'Lord, if it is really you, order me to come out on the water to you.'"
Peter wanted to know if it was really Jesus out there.
Lesson: Jesus is always "out there" in the storm. All you have to do is to look for Him, search for Him, call out to Him, and He will respond.
But in order to look for Jesus you have to take your eyes off of the storm that surrounds you and focus on Him.
Stop fretting and fuming and start calling to Jesus.
Verse 29: "'Come!' answered Jesus. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus."
Then Peter followed Jesus' command and got out of the boat.
Wow, how stupid can you get – to think that he could overcome the laws of nature and walk on the water – just because Jesus said so?
Lesson: Be completely, absolutely obedient to Jesus. If He says it is possible, it IS possible. He is, after all, the Almighty Son of Almighty God!
So you can trust Him and step out of your comfort zone!
Verse 30 (a): "But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water."
Then Peter realised what a leap of faith he had taken – to try doing what no man had aver done before – and suddenly he noticed how huge those waves were!
Lesson: Jesus, the Lord of the Universe, is also Lord over the laws of nature.
By keeping your attention focused, not on the problem, but on Him who is the Almighty, your problem can absolutely be overcome.
But if you take your eyes off Jesus and focus back on the problem, the problem again becomes overwhelmingly large.
Verse 30(b) & 31: "'Save me, Lord!' he cried. At once Jesus reached out and grabbed hold of him and said, 'What little faith you have! Why did you doubt?'"
At this time, Peter knew he had run out of self-help. There was no way he could get out of this storm on his own.
So he did the only thing that made sense – he cried "Save me, Lord!"
Lesson: When you think there is nowhere to turn, turn to Jesus. He is always there, and He always wants to help.
But you have to seek Him, call out to Him and expect Him to come to your rescue.
And then, once your hand is in Jesus' hand, don't let go! Hold on to Him as if your life depends on it (because it does!)
Verse 32: "They both got into the boat, and the wind died down."
When Jesus was in control, suddenly everything was calm.
Lesson: Don't try to control your own life. Don't try to find your own way out of life's storms.
Just put your hand in His hand, and let Him calm the storm around you.
With Jesus everything is possible, as it is so beautifully said in Fil 4: 13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
But what if Jesus doesn’t help?
Is it possible for God to heal every disease, to mend every broken heart, to fix every damaged relationship?
Does it happen that way?
But why not?
This is probably one of the most difficult things for us to understand. If God can do all things, then why does He sometimes not hear the prayers of a faithful servant who prays for healing?
Does He not want to help? Does He not care?
Oh, yes, He does want to help and He does care.
But sometimes God has bigger plans – plans that we might not understand now (or that we might never understand during this life).
Like He did on Calvary. . .
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”
These words were cried out by Jesus while He was dying on the cross – go read them in Mark 15: 34, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"
It means "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
Even Jesus, the perfect Man, asked this question of God.
Why, oh why, Father, are You not there in my suffering? Can't You see the terrible storm raging about Me?
He was in the hour of his deepest suffering – hanging on the cross of Calvary, when his Father (!!) turned his back on Him and let Him suffer on his own!
Imagine that – God turning his back on his own Son!
It is unthinkable!!
Yet that is exactly what God did.
He was there, looking in horror at what sin (yours and mine!) had caused his beloved Son to have to suffer.
Massive tears must have streamed from God's eyes to see his Son suffer. . . to hear Him call out, but not to respond. . .
God did nothing!
He could have sent down a thousand angels to strike down the Romans, rescue Jesus from the cross and heal his wounds.
But He didn't.
Because God had a bigger plan
The death of Jesus on the cross of Calvary was absolutely essential for your salvation and mine.
There was no other way for us to be saved from our self-inflicted sinful lives. No other way but for God to send his own Son through the worst human suffering imaginable. . .
Because God loves us, He had to do the unthinkable – turn his back on his dying son.
Imagine the sorrow, the pain in his Father’s heart, the deep regret. . .
Yet God did it – out of love for you and me!
Where is God in your suffering?
God is right there where He was when Jesus suffered – wishing that there was another way, but knowing this was the only way.
Now you might not understand it.
You also might not like it.
But know that God is with you, and that He does hear your prayers.
And then accept the outcome that He provides – whether it is the outcome you prayed for or not.
And one day – if not in this life, then certainly in the next – you will have God's answer to the "why" of your suffering.
And in the meantime you'll be able to continue your life in spite of the storm that plagues you.