“When it rains, it pours,” as the old saying goes. Usually, about the time I get to feeling well grounded and firmly focused, the clouds come rolling in, and the illusion of control is washed away once again. The latest downpour began when my son had a seizure which set him back quite a bit—followed by teacher meetings, doctor appointments, and a load of new medical tests. Then my folks went through some very difficult health issues and hospital stays, my husband and I got sick while out of town for a speaking engagement, my tire blew out on the freeway, and several of our friends were hit with some heartbreaking circumstances. As I said, when it rains, it pours.
Can You Relate?
Ever experienced torrential times and felt tempted to toss up your arms and call it quits? Turbulence quickly ties us in knots, specifically when we feel as if our faith is of no help. It often seems God is attentive in the calm but absent in the storm. There’s a downpour of disappointment and disillusionment when we feel that . . .
- God allows pain to persist . . . and get worse
- God appears unjust, allowing evil to continue
- God takes your child, then another, while your friends’ homes are filled with children and grandchildren
- God allows deception and manipulation to wreak havoc in your life, even though you remain dedicated and devout in trusting Him
- God is a refuge to others but doesn’t appear to listen to or care about your needs
- God heals others in spite of your faithful prayers for healing
- God provides in abundance for others, yet you lose your job which provided for your disabled loved one’s medical care
Where is God when the storms go from bad to worse? He promises to be our helper, healer, and everlasting hope; yet that is often the last thing we feel when the storms rage on. It helps to know you are not the first or last to experience disappointment in life and the disillusionment that follows when God seems distant. Consider David’s words:
O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand? (Psalm 13:1–2)
O LORD, hear my plea for justice.
Listen to my cry for help.
Pay attention to my prayer, . . .
Bend down and listen as I pray. (17:1, 6)
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. (22:1–2)
In fact, Samuel, Job, Elijah, all the prophets, the disciples, and righteous people through the ages have endured the pounding of pouring pain. While we know the rest of their stories, we don’t know how ours will end. How tempting it is to allow doubt, fear, and anger to take over. However, something far deeper is happening, and God is at the very center of it all, calling us to examine our lives and make some life-changing choices. You see, storms have a way of revealing the essence of our character, our soul’s truest condition. The greatest challenge isn’t surviving the storm . . . it’s surrendering to what is revealed and then choosing our direction in the midst of it.
What Are Storms Revealing in You?
Are you wrestling with stormy stuff these days? Has seeking relief become more important than resigning to what God may be revealing? Transformation requires we slow . . . even stop . . . and study our lives because God is at work even if we feel He is not. Four critical questions must be addressed; our answers to them directly affect the direction of our lives. Because these questions and how we respond to them are so important, I’ve chosen to list two here for our discussion this week. These two questions are in regard to the will. Next week, we will address two questions in regard to the soul.
Two Critical Questions: Your Will
Question 1: Are you willing to admit the truth of where you are today?
Maybe you need to let go of trying to fix something or someone. What aspect of your character is being revealed? Are you deceptive, bitter, manipulative, controlling, resentful, angry, or out of control? The truth sets us free. Are you admitting the true nature of where you are today?
Question 2: Are you willing to accept what God has allowed, believing He is at work in the midst of what appears to be a mess?
Are you willing to walk by faith, to be guided by the truth rather than your feelings and doubts? Do you believe God is faithful, good, true, present, and loving—even though it appears He is not? Belief is a willful choice often undermined when we allow circumstances or feelings to take over.
Let Me Hear from You
“When it rains, it pours,” as the old saying goes. What you may not know is that the statement was coined by the Morton Salt Company back in the 1930s. They created a way to keep salt from clumping in humid, wet weather; so even in the rain, their salt would pour. Christ said, “You are salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13), meaning our behaviors and beliefs have preservation qualities and make a profound impact on others. There can be light, even in the darkest seasons; the choice to be salt and light is yours. This week, let’s connect on one or two of these questions above and help each other see beyond the storms of today. Next week, we will take a look at stormy seasons and the soul.
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