Handling the storms of life
Storms are a natural occurrence of life. They come as a result of the climate. We all face them from time to time.
Broadly speaking, storms can be divided into three types. The type of storm you are facing dictates how you deal with it.
The first type of storm we face is the one that is a result of doing what is right. Or to put it another way - storms that arise as a result of doing God?s will: opposition storms.
We find an incident of this in Genesis 26. Famine in the Land prompted Isaac to move to Egypt. God appeared to him in a dream and told him not to go. God intended to bless Isaac in the land of famine. Isaac stayed and God blessed him (Gen 26: 1-14).
Then a storm came (Gen 26:14-16). The Philistines grew envious of Isaac?s wealth, a product of his blessings. Moved by envy and spite they not only blocked the wells that were vital to his water supply but also asked him to move away from their land. Potential disaster loomed.
We find a similar situation in Luke 8:22- 25
One day Jesus said to his disciples, Let?s go over to the other side of the lake. So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
The disciples went and woke him, saying, Master, Master, we?re going to drown!
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. Where is your faith? he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.
Jesus had instructed the disciples to go over the water to the other side. They were in the centre of God?s will when the storm struck. Some storms are a result of doing the right thing.
The way you deal with these kinds of storms is ?continuing in doing what is right?. Don?t turn round to flee in the wrong direction (Galatians 6:9).
Having done all to stand you should keep on standing (Ephesians 6:13). This applies to work, home, ministry or church situations.
Opened door storms
The next kind of storms we face are the Jonah type of storms - when our disobedience opens the door to hardships. If you have never read the book of Jonah you should do so now. Here is a snapshot of the story
The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.
But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.
Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. Jonah 1:1-5
Jonah was running away from God?s will. He actually paid money to get away from God. Then the storm came.
There is only one way to deal with storms of this type. You have to turn round. Repentance is the only way to avoid this kind of storm (1John 1:8-10).
Praying and fasting will not help you here. Nor will an increase in your offering. Obedience is the only antidote.
Have you ever turned up at a bus stop only the witness the bus leaving? It leaves you standing there wondering - why does this only ever happen to me!
Well, I have got news for you - it happens to everyone. There are certain hardships that come along that can be easily misunderstood as storms.
Having a troublesome child, uncompromising boss at work, difficult spouse and so on. All these are hardships we face that can be mistaken for storms. The way you deal with these is patience and wisdom.
You pray and work through them (1Peter 1:13-21). Don?t go looking for another route. God has given you the ability to cope with them; all you need to do is ask Him to manifest that wisdom in you (James 1:5, 1Peter 1:2-4).
So there you have it. The way you deal with a storm is by determining what type of storm it is.
Many people abort God given goals and tasks because of the storms that come their way.
This is an error you are sure to regret later. When opposition comes as a result of doing what is right you do not retreat. Keep pressing on.
However, when storms are a result of disobedience it is time to retreat. Turn around quick.
Finally, don?t mistake hardships of life for storms. Hardships are things we all face. God has given you the ability and wisdom to cope with them.
As you face them they will make you a better person. Your relationships will grow and the maturity you develop will give you great advantages as you continue on life?s journey.
What kind of storm are you facing today?