I have never been in a major storm. I have lived around the aftermath of a storm like Hurricane Hugo and, most recently, the flood in South Carolina. Overwhelming…sad…….devastating….”shell shock”…are great words to describe it…but somehow don’t do it justice when I really think about the “visual” of such devastating events. I just have no clue of the people who had to swim to safety leaving behind what had historically been their “haven”…their homes!
Life storms happen just like ones in nature and they happen every day. We see the physical storms; they are in our backyards (mine now meaning the state and town in which I live). But the storms I want to write about are not the physical ones but the life storms that impact us in other ways.
Many life storms are personal and the world, or the public, does not know of them. They are secret battles that people face, ones that can be so convoluted. It is hard to distinguish TRUTH from the LIES when a life storm involves other humans, especially if we are Christians. We/I must first stop and recognize we are all sinners as explained in 1 John 1:8. “If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Yes, recognizing our sin, our part, and confessing it to the only One that can do something about it is the first place to start–Jesus!
Thankfully, Jesus is willing and quick to forgive. He judges the heart and our motives. Proverbs 16:2, “All a person’s ways seems pure to them, but MOTIVES are weighed by the Lord.” And 1 Samuel 16:7, “….the Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” It is an “aha” moment for me, or anyone, who realizes that even our actions, done for the wrong reasons, are KNOWN BY GOD!
I have come to realize that when I find myself in a “life storm,” one in which I really don’t know…what to do…what to say…what to think…and there are so many MIXED MESSAGES, I can fall back on several things. I am responsible for “my heart” and God and God alone knows it….that is what He judges. Man does not know the heart but God does. Remembering..God knows not just our heart but ALL Hearts!
I also realize that, apart from a total surrender to HIM, the heart can get dark in a hurry. Luke 11:35, “See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness” SO, for me, it is a daily surrender to Jesus with the confession and recognition of my sin. Apart from God “I can do nothing that really matters!” Jesus is the only One capable of revealing things done in secret.
Luke 8:17, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” Therefore we can easily trust Him when we are baffled in situations..involving others.
So, if you are facing a life storm today and there is confusion, especially involving others, first, go to God and ask Him…”Is there any unclean way in me?” Just focus on yourself…that is the ONLY thing you are responsible for!
I love to learn from how David prayed. After all, he was said to be a “man after God’s own heart”. In Psalms 139:23 David prays, “Search me God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” And Psalm 26:2, “Test me Lord, and try me. Examine my heart and mind.”
We read in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” This Scripture is always true but never more true than when we go to God and want to cleanse our heart…and be more like Jesus in ALL SITUATIONS…and never is there a better time than in Life Storms for God to show us our heart and refine us to be more like HIM..…
So when you feel like the disciples who were in the boat with Jesus when a physical storm arose and you want to yell, “Master, Master we are going to drown!”, turn to your FAITH. SEEK TO GROW IT. Jesus said to them, “Where is your faith?” YOU see, Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided. The disciples asked, “Who is this? He commanded even the winds and the water, and they obey him” (see Luke 8:24-25).
Lesson here for you and for me: God knows everything…EVERYTHING…things done in secret and things in our hearts. KNOWING THAT HE controls the wind and the seas… then we can know HE certainly HAS US.
Our job is OUR HEART–complete disclosure. OUR ACTIONS….OUR MOTIVES…THAT IS WHAT THE ONE WHO IS IN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING LOOKS AT. We can “drop our hands” willingly when we KNOW HE KNOWS. Remember, He is in control of everything.
As I seek to continually surrender and grow in Christ, I have learned two things. We are all motivated by love or leverage. God’s desire is for us to operate continuously out of a HEART of LOVE….and leave the desire for LEVERAGE TO HIM. Trying to be God is not what we were created to do….that is where the trouble in the garden started and we, me included, are tempted daily to operate in leverage instead of love. We do things out of a desire to be in the right “spot” rather than doing things for the sake of love.
God is the storm chaser. We should relinquish all “leverage” to Him!