West Texas has been hit by several severe storms recently that have included hail, tornado warnings, and heavy rain. Flooding is a real problem here in our very flat city. There is no place for the water to go. Heavy rain turns our streets into rivers and our intersections into lakes. In fact last week dozens of motorists had to be rescued from their cars and one woman drowned when her mustang was swept off the road and into a ditch.
These kinds of storms are scary and, unfortunately, also inevitable here. We expect them and try to prepare for them. What about life’s storms? Do you expect them? In John 16:33, Jesus said we would have trouble in this world. (And, praise God, He also said to “take heart” because He has overcome the world!) So why are we sometimes surprised when trouble comes?
Here are three things that can help us when we find ourselves in the midst of trial and difficulty:
- Reflect on God’s purposes – Both James and Peter tell us that we can rejoice in the midst of trials. (See James 1:2-4 and 1 Peter 1:6-9.) I know, it seems crazy to think about rejoicing when times are hard. But they didn’t mean to be happy about the difficulties themselves. God uses the storms of life to refine us and shape us into the person He wants us to be. He molds our character and burns off impurities. He turns your life into one that will bring praise and honor to Jesus. Now that’s something to be joyful about!
- Rest in God’s promises – Spiritual maturity is great, but how does that help us get through the storms? The Bible is full of promises from God about how He helps us in times of difficulties. The 46th Psalm contains one of my favorites. “God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear through the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, thought the mountains tremble at its swelling (Ps 46:1-3).” We may have to walk through painful and dark days but God will be there. Everything else may be falling down around our ears, but God is our refuge, a safe place where we can run.
- Rejoice in God’s presence – When we have nothing else we have God. He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. (See Hebrews 13:5.) Even when everything else in life is wrong God is present. His presence means comfort, peace, and help. Seek to be consciously aware of His constant presence. Then rejoice in it!
Do the skies overhead look dark today? Run to the Light and reflect, rest, and rejoice in Him!