Life has storms, full stop. Storms can be health challenges, financial mishaps, relational pitfalls, unexpected crisis & lots more. As much as I’d like to storm-proof my life, this doesn’t seem to be a realistic option for me, despite my best efforts. So here are some pointers that are helping me & might be useful to you as well:
Focus grasshopper – let’s keep our eyes on Jesus because there’s no storm that He cannot calm and disperse
Watch the Clock – this too will pass because storms have an end no matter how long it seems
Guard the Gates – a storm on the outside doesn’t mean that it has to come into your heart
Eat your Spinach – storms are great opportunities to strengthen your faith; indeed, it seems to me that my faith doesn’t strengthen in serenity as well as it does under stress #selah
Feel free to pass this to your friends & family who might be in a storm & happy Monday to you!
The eastern part of the US has been overwhelmed with snow this week, creating massive amounts of chaos, hardship & even some death. I saw a picture from inside a persons house with the door open & snow all the way to the top of the door!
Generally, we don’t like storms for lots of reasons (harmful, destructive, inconvenient, etc). But I’d like to propose that sometimes storms solve problems. Take for example Jonah’s storm – the storm solved his problem of disobedience. Or the storm when Jesus walked on the water. This storm helped Jesus’ disciples to get better at believing & move away from doubting. Sometimes storms can give us some very helpful solutions. Here are a few pointers that might help you with getting solutions from storms:
*focus – keeping our eyes on & confidence in Jesus helps us not to become storm victims
*solution oriented – is a storm a helpful way to reorganize your priorities?
*future – after the storm, consider that God may have brought you to a place of hope & promise 🙂
Feel like you’re in a storm? Are you having a difficult time with life? Sometimes we feel like we’re drowning & we’ve neglected to put on our “floaties”. I go through times like this & feel like I’m going to drown in problems – but here’s some really cool help:
I was thinking about how Peter got out of the boat in a storm & walked with Jesus – such a powerful metaphor for us when our life is stormy. Jesus’ disciples were in the middle of a storm & were struggling to stay afloat & when Jesus came strolling along in the middle of the storm, walking on the water, they freaked out!! Peter asked Jesus to get out of the boat & walk to Him – Jesus said, “Yes!” So here’s some help for you in a storm: with Jesus, any storm can be a stroll.
Sometimes I try to put myself in the shoes of Peter when he asked Jesus about trying to walk on water. I think it took alot of guts, bravado and possibly faith to get out of the boat & walk to Jesus. The rest of the disciples in the boat were probably scared, incredulous, amazed, astounded and possibly jealous that Peter could be so bold. Nevertheless, it would seem to me that they had to stabilize the boat when Peter was getting out of it, so that it wouldn’t tip over (ever try to get in or out of a boat without the help of a pier???). It took some teamwork to help Peter get out of the boat. Once he started to walk on the water, everyone including Peter were probably shocked out of their skin. But I think that Jesus had a smirk & maybe a bit of a sly wink.
When Peter started to sink, all bets were off and everyone except Jesus started to freak out. Seems like this is often the case with me – I love the beginning of any adventure & the rush of adrenaline that goes with the initial momentum. But when I sense adversity or hardship, it’s easy to get distracted from keeping my eyes on Jesus and focus on the various struggles. That’s where the sinking feeling starts. So here’s some encouragement: no matter what the circumstances, your feelings, adversities, hardships, struggles and what may seem impossible, we must give ourself no choice but to focus on Jesus. All other focuses can drown us in failure, sadness, discouragement and struggle.
The last few days have been kind of a whirlwind – traveling to a few cities, lots of driving for end of the season swim parties, ministry opportunities, car challenges, etc. Sometimes when we are in those super busy seasons, it can feel like we’re running on fumes. If we’re not careful, we can get impatient, sharp & dismissive.
It is particularly helpful in these seasons to do our best to keep our eyes on God and we can do this in many different ways:
good worship tunes
reviewing Bible verses that have been helpful
talking with a friend about God
endeavor to find some quiet from time to time
Job 20:20 says, “Because he knew no quiet within him, he does not retain anything he desires”
Ok, here’s some transparency – I’m kind of stressed at this moment. There are alot of moving parts in my life right now & it seems that whatever topic that I focus on leaves me stressed. I know that there are seasons of pressure times in life & we all get to learn to manage through those seasons with hopefully few, if any, casualties.
Nevertheless, the last few days & evenings have had some intensely stressful moments, but here’s also some encouragement: this morning in my quiet time, as I’m doing my normal Bible reading routine, the verses I read in the NT were about Jesus calming the storm (when He had been sleeping while everyone else was freaking out). Furthermore, I read Ps 94:19, “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.” Finally, the verses I’m memorizing in John start with Jesus saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled – you believe in God, believe also in Me.”
So here’s my take aways that you might also find useful:
I can have peace in my heart as I fellowship with Jesus regardless of the storms occuring around me
When I bring Jesus into the storms of my life, He brings peace
There are times that Jesus wants to work through me to bring peace to stormy situations – blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God (Matt 5)
May the peace of Jesus guard your heart and mind today, my friend