Here in central Georgia, I-75 North bound is bumper to bumper with Floridians heeding advice from their Governor and the National Weather Service. I know this, not only from the news report, but because John and I needed to be in Atlanta yesterday for business. What usually takes 90 minutes to travel from our town to Atlanta took 4 and a half hours. In spite of the inconvenience, we were glad people were taking seriously the call to evacuate.
Even though we will not experience the worst of the hurricane, we’re preparing as well. We’ve stocked up on gas, groceries and flashlight batteries. We have coolers with dry ice in case the power goes out and we need to empty the freezer. Outdoor furniture has been stacked safely underneath the carport. We have cash on hand in case stores are unable to take credit cards for a couple of days.
We’ve done what we can do to be prepared.
All this prep work reminds me that there are other storms that come our way. And unlike the warning of the Weather Channel, these storms come with little to no warning. One thing is certain: by God’s design, at some point in time, we all find ourselves in a storm. By that I mean we will be in a season when life’s troubles are simply more than we can handle.
The death of a loved one.
A job loss.
The doctor’s report saying it’s cancer.
The betrayal from a spouse.
In those devastating moments, we want to know:
Where is God? Does He see me in my storm?
Why would a loving God allow this to happen to me?
How can I remain steady and balanced in a storm that threatens to derail the very core of my faith?
Okay, forget “steady and balanced”. How do I just get through this?
I believe we can do more than just get through. We can be prepared for our storms.
So how do we do that? Here are a few dos and donts to help you be ready.
- Don’t be shocked. Do realize this is a fallen world. “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12)
- As tempting as it may be, Don’t ask, “Why did this happen to me?” Don’t get me wrong. It’s healthy to ask yourself if you’ve contributed to your problem. For example, if you’re in financial crisis because you’ve been irresponsible with your money. But generally, the question “Why? Why? Why?” only leads to depression and a victim mentality that gets you nowhere. Do realize that life isn’t easy for any of us. We all go through storms. You are not alone.
- Don’t swallow the lies of the enemy. For example, “I’m not going to make it”, “God is getting me back for some past sin”, “I will never be happy again”, etc. Do feed continually on the truth of God’s word concerning His ways. I love what John Piper says: “We must preach to ourselves because the enemy is always preaching to us.” If we simply go on “default” setting, the lies of the enemy are always there to pull us down into depression, doubts, hatred and self-pity. The afternoon I found my father dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, I immediately was reminded of words I had heard from a speaker just the day before: “We don’t have to fall apart when troubles come. Instead, we know this very moment we get to discover all that stuff we’ve been talking about in Sunday School for the past 40 years is true.” There was no quick, easy fix. It wasn’t overnight. But I found it to be true as I proactively trusted God’s word rather than the lies of the enemy concerning my storm.
- Don’t pretend you can handle this on your own. Do tell God the truth about your feelings. If you think you can’t handle your problems, congratulations! You’re right! If you could handle them, who would get the glory? You. God leads us into desert-like situations so He alone can be our sufficiency. Then the glory is all His.
- Do look for reasons to be thankful. Do look for God in every detail. Ask Him what He wants to show you in this storm. Then LOOK. Storms are like Easter Egg Hunts. When you were a kid and you went to an Easter Egg Hunt, did you hand them your basket and did they fill it up for you and say, “Here ya go! Thanks for coming to our Easter Egg Hunt!”???? NO. You had to go HUNT for those babies. (That’s why they call it a HUNT.) In the same way, you have to HUNT for the beautiful golden nuggets that God wants to show you in your storm.
It’s been said that we are always in one of three places: in a storm, just coming out of one or about to go in one. Friend, the subject of remaining steady in the storm is dear to me because I have been there. A storm is coming, and I want you to be ready. My book “Falling Up” deals more in detail with this subject. If you or someone you know is struggling in a storm, I hope you’ll take advantage of the things God shared with me. He truly brought me out, stronger on the other side, and I know He longs to do the same for you.
Until next time, sending you love!