A few nights ago while watching my favourite international news channel CNN, I saw a big sign written in red as the camera zoomed through the gulf coast of Florida. This sign was placed there in preparation for the landfall of a monstrous hurricane called “Hurricane Michael”( I wonder why a hurricane should be called such a beautiful name) it read “STORM READY, ARE YOU?”
In the natural, storms come unannounced, their impact unpredictable and destructive. Thank God for technology, these storms are metrologically monitored so as to warn people ahead of time and then necessary precautions are taken. In any way, the preparation does not stop the storms from landing.
Figuratively speaking too, challenges of life come with the same intensity like these deadly storms. Be it persecution, affliction, financial, health related or marital etc. So long as we are in this world, there will be tribulations and trials. Jesus said “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”(Jn. 16:33)
We all must live with a mindset that someday our faith or resolve will be tested by the storms of life. Jesus said in His parable of the sower concerning the seed that fell in a stony ground “…when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended” (Mk 4:16-17).
Notice, He said “….when affliction or persecution arises…” It is a matter of “when” not “if”. None of us has immunity against the challenges of life. Apostle Paul said they are common to man (1 Cor 10:13).
Storms will surely come, the question is “How prepared are you?” Let me share with you some tips that will help you before and when they come
Expect them; To expect ugly and adverse circumstances of life is not anti-faith. Expectation or anticipation gives you a firm grip of whatever comes.
Don’t blame God;God is not responsible for storms; The world we live in is under the effect of the sin of man and consequently the sway of the wicked one. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Pet. 5:8-9). Afflictions come to those who are in the world.
Count it all joy; Here is the instruction of Apostle James: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations” (Jam. 1:2). How do I count it all joy in the midst of adverse circumstances? Joy helps you to have a positive outlook towards adverse circumstances. Joy is internal, trials are external. It doesn’t matter what happens around you so long as it doesn’t get into you, certainly you will come out on the other side victorious!
Stay in faith; Keep your mouth hooked to the Word. Take charge of your mind by the words of your mouth. Even if wrong thoughts are bombarding your mind, never express them in words. Don’t talk about the situation, talk only about the solution which is the victory you have in Christ.
Be patient: “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (Jam. 1:3-4). Patience is what keeps you steady and stable as you walk through adverse circumstances of life. Patience strengthens your focus on the outcome and not on the issue.
Seek godly counsel; When you don’t know what to do, you should at least know who to call on. God gives us pastors to counsel us as we navigate our way through turbulent periods. Don’t suffer in silence, reach out to your pastor. Hence, accountability is critical in church membership. The writer of Hebrews says true leaders watch for our souls and this is the reason he gave to obey them (Heb. 13:17).
You must be “storm ready”. Never be caught off guard. Many who have been caught off guard have faltered away. Prov. 24:10 says “if you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” Strong and stable believers are not known when things are rosy but when things are rough and tough.
Will you continue to serve Jesus in spite or despite what you’re going through? Will you reduce your church attendance or stop altogether because of the challenges of life? What you do these periods actually reflect the kind of person you have always been.
For further lessons and explanations, get this teaching series and single messages:
How to handle the storms of life
How the Word of God in me is tested
Why God allows delay
What to do when you don’t know what to do (series)
Editor’s note: We would like to receive feedback from you. Let us know in the comment section or via direct message how these teachings are enriching your spiritual walk.