Storms are Inevitable...
by David Brenneman
We really do wonder at storms. We wonder when will they arrive, how long they will be and when will they leave. Some wonder additionally at how much damage will be because of them.
Me...I am probably one of the standouts that like storms to listen to and possibly sleep through. Nothing about them truly bothers me. I rest wholly in the truth that I am safe no matter the storm. I wrote several times on a particularly nasty one I had to drive through last fall. I am a believer in that God uses anything and everything to bring home a point, a lesson, a need to show transformation.
We are going to face life-changing storms.
We are going to face our own valley's of the shadow of death situations.
We will face our own "Karen's" of this world.
We will face trials, tribulations, pain and suffering in this world.
We just will.
What we do in those moments shapes our present and our future. Trusting in our feelings and emotions will get us in trouble. If I react to my feelings and emotions rather than trusting in Christ Jesus then I most certainly won't take the path that's where He wants me to be going.
If people are hard on me long enough I tend to find ways to avoid such people. But what if God were using such people to correct something in me? Then I indeed will repeat the lesson. Been there done that too many times to count.
We are all too often caught up in the highly charged emotions and feelings of confrontation of what isn't planned for or is but isn't what we expected. We either want to or we do run the other way.
Jesus said we would indeed face such things in this life. He went through it, we will too. We often refer to Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd. Look at what His job entails. He doesn't park the flock in a singular safe place all the time. They must get out to graze. They must go out and do life. He takes them from place to place. He wants them to gather together to be with each other and to learn to rely on Him. He wants us to learn what obedience is towards Himself. He wants us to know what discipline means that He teaches. He wants to bring out His best in us.
Often people get the wrong idea of God from the Old Testament. God had to allow mankind, within reason, to show its propensity toward disobedience. To allow mankind to indeed show that man's way would never bring about the righteous life that God desires in each man, woman and child. Love is all throughout the Old Testament, just as it is in the New Testament. Jesus is the same Lord in the Old as He is in the New. The same yesterday, today and forever.
So we are each given a measure of faith.
What we do with it is up to us. We often see troubled people who have gone astray. They took that measure of faith and buried it. Perhaps for a time, perhaps for their lifetime. Those who didn't hide it but instead planted or invested it have seen the results of God in their lives. The more invested the deeper the roots and the less the storms of life have an impact on them.
Firm roots only come really because of the storms. To look at the root structure of trees hundreds of years old you find them exceedingly deep in the ground. Having sought places in the ground to anchor onto. The roots being a near mirror image of the branches we see above ground.
Jesus said in a few parables of the need to invest what we have been given if we at all want to hear "Well done" from Him.
We CAN choose to quit and run away when people or life gets hard. We can run from those storms or we can remain steadfast. As Dr. David Jeremiah said "God-honoring stubbornness".
Pastors are those who face the most disappointments in serving Jesus. Many are able to cope because of those who pray for them daily. Many fall by the wayside because the battles take their toll. Seeking something to take them from the battles.
Service to God isn't optional. It's what we do in the body of Christ. We are placed as He sees fit in the body to serve all our days. We have a calling in Christ Jesus that as Paul said in Romans is irrevocable. We, the Sheep, do not tell the Shepherd how it's going to be. We don't tell the Shepherd what is too much. We don't tell the Shepherd that we give up.
We stay the course, we run the race, we do our best to finish well, as Paul admonished Timothy to do.
We, like that particular storm last year, must press on, no matter what we are feeling, no matter what the emotions we have tell us.
When we run from God we run into God. Check with Jonah on this.
We must go through the hard stuff in life to make us more like Christ Jesus. We must feed our faith with these struggles. Setting our minds on the things that are above and not on the things that are of this world. Praying without ceasing. Loving the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and spirit. Loving your neighbor as yourself. Being mindful that the storms come from God, either directly or permitted. We are in His hands and nothing touches us without His permission.
Are you running from God?
Are you putting your faith where your life is?
Are you going to sit and sulk, run from what it is God's GOING to bring you through? I mean you might be avoiding whatever it is that He's intending you to go through, but you will probably still go through it again. Israel spent a combined 80 years in the wilderness because of disobedience.
You can either be a Jonah or be an Isaiah.
You can either run or stop, turn around, drop to your knees, ask for forgiveness and say "here am I".
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