If you’re human, you’ve been through a storm. My very wise pastor will often say that we are either in the middle of one, just getting out of one or about to enter a struggle or storm.
None of us are immune to the storms of life. They are guaranteed to come and you may even be in one right now.
Storms can come in many different forms such as the thunder and lighting of struggling to parent, to the sheets of rain in a really difficult partnership to the tornado that ensues when you’ve lost a loved one.
Storms can happen at work, in relationships or even in ministry. It is possible for ANY area of life to bring stress, frustration and emotional chaos at times.
I think we would both agree that it’s easier to praise God in the good times. But what about the bad times — when the storm comes or unexpected strikes, leaving you in a place of hurt, frustration, despair, and vulnerability?
We all struggle at times and I would guess that almost 100% of us have wondered a few things in the middle of the chaos:
Why is this happening?
Make the pain stop!
Will this ever end?
Where is God right now?
What is the reason for this?
When we are in the midst of a struggle we have a lot of questions…
We ask what the purpose is and why we have to go through it.
We wonder why we need to experience the pain.
We question how God can bring good out of this and, if so, when that will actually happen.
We sometimes struggle to look to God when fear and struggle enter our lives to a high degree.
So what do we do when we’re in the storm?
How do we learn to trust and have faith in our Father when life is going in the exact opposite direction than we would hope? Let’s talk through the answer…
When I think of storms I often remember the story of Peter and Jesus in the book of Matthew:
In this story Peter tests Jesus by saying to Him “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to You on the water.” “Come,” Jesus said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” ~Matthew 14:28–31
Peter called to Jesus and Jesus reached out to Him, but Peter sank because he doubted.
Have you ever done this? Have you ever doubted God was there and asked him in some way to prove himself, but even when he showed up your fear overrode your faith?
If so, you are not alone. I (and many people I know) have done this countless times. Even though faith is the goal, the fear wins out in the moment.
I think we all know that when we cry out to God He is there. We hear the promises of Him being with us like in Joshua 1:9 which says “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Also, we hear in Psalm 145: 18–19 that “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” Even though we are aware of these promises, how often do we allow our doubt to override our faith and trust in Him?
I’m guessing if you’re human then probably A LOT!
It’s natural to fear, but it’s important to remember that fear is not of God.
So we all struggle with trusting at times, but what happens when we DON’T trust in him?
In this story, Peter DID NOT trust and he began to sink.
Do you think it’s possible that when WE don’t trust, WE begin to sink?
We feel overwhelmed by the waves crashing around us. Sometimes we can’t get our head above water. We dip down into a place that is not God-focused or even joyful and at peace anymore?
And this all takes place in our minds!
When I imagine having 100% faith and trust in Jesus Christ, I imagine rising above and overcoming. God has already overcome the world! John 16:33 says, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on Earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” When we abide in and are saved by Him through grace we are also Overcomers. He promises that we will have trouble but that He has already overcome!
We can tap into that power and also overcome our difficult circumstances with His strength.
So if we know we can overcome, what holds us back from having complete faith and trust?
The answer is this: The enemy is ALWAYS at work.
What does scripture say about the enemy?
1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
So you know that Satan is at work and that you must be ready to stand against him and “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” ~Ephesians 6:11
The MOST IMPORTANT line in the 3 verses above is the last one: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
That is what God wants for you, me and all human beings!
We have a choice as to how we will navigate through the storms of life. We can either choose to rise above and walk on water with God’s strength OR we can choose to have little faith and begin to sink.
Even the disciples felt fear in the midst of a storm. Again in Matthew, we read about a storm coming upon Jesus and his disciples when they were out at sea. They were afraid and called out to God.
The Story Goes:
“When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was engulfed by the waves; but Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
“You of little faith,” Jesus replied, “why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the wind and the sea, and it was perfectly calm.
“The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this?Even the wind and the sea obey Him!” ~Matthew 8:23–27
I love this story because the disciples called out to God afraid saying “Lord save us, we are perishing,” but Jesus rebuked them for not trusting him fully.
These are the disciples, the one who knew Jesus and followed Him in the flesh. How could they not trust and have faith?
It just proves that any of us can experience fear, even when we are close to God.
Let me ask you something…
What is the fear coming up in you that does not allow you to trust God?
It’s a great question to ask yourself when you are feeling fearful. When irrational fears win, the enemy wins.
When we have faith, trust and focus on coming from a place of love, God wins.
So what is the answer to trusting God in the storm?
CHOOSE TO TRUST!
It’s that simple. It is a choice we make daily, even minute to minute.
These Scriptures help paint a picture of what happens when we Trust:
James 4:7 says “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” When we submit to God and give Him control over our lives, the devil flees!
1 John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” Part of being able to count on God is knowing that He is there whenever we need him. Our prayers will never go unheard.
Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Fear is a normal part of life. But with God on our side, we can turn to Him in the darkest moments and know that He is there for us.
Psalm 32:10 says, “Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.” When we believe in God, we are rewarded with love and safety to get us through the tough times.
We can trust that God will bring good out of the storm like it is said in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Or we can choose NOT to..
But the choice is yours. — God gave you free will to choose!
Why do we go through storms? Let’s answer that question here:
There is a greater purpose in your trial — God may use it to help others.
2 Cor 1:3–5 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”
He may be refining you through it.
1 Peter 5:10 says, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
He knows that you need to go through this test to have an amazing testimony that will glorify Him.
Psalm 66:10–12 says, “For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.”
He has a reason and He knows the whole picture. We are standing too close to it to see the whole canvas, but He can see it all. He sees how everything works together and knows the end from the beginning.
Proverbs 3:5–6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
It’s hard for us to see God’s vision for our lives, but if we trust in Him and have faith, He will guide us down the road that He’s built especially for us.
I hope this is an encouragement to you today. When you are hopeless and doubting you may begin to sink, but when you call out to God He is there.
Remember Peter who lost His confidence in God and got caught in the storm. When he called out to God He was there, but it seems that he would’ve been better off to just have faith and trust initially.
Focus on His hope and his promises and you will get through the storm. Isaiah 40:31 says, “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
“For everyone born of God is victorious and overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has conquered and overcome the world — our [continuing, persistent] faith [in Jesus the Son of God.]” ~1 John 5:4, AMP
In moments of doubt, remember that faith in God should never be founded upon feelings or circumstances. What we feel and experience is real, but so is the truth of who God is.
Choose today to walk in that truth. Believe it. Declare it. God loves you, He is with you, and no matter what you face, you can always trust Him, even in the storm.